Simbo for Change is a PLP-funded partnership working on women’s economic empowerment and community leadership on an island in the Western Province of Solomon Islands. The partners include the project founder (a development entrepreneur named Esther Suti), the Madegugusu Women’s Association, the Samoan Women in Business Development Inc (SWIBDI) and PLP.
In a major milestone for the Simbo for Change project, Simbo has become the first organically certified island in the Solomon Islands. Certification by the National Association for Sustainable Agriculture Australia in June 2017 marked the culmination of four years of work by project partners and the Simbo community, including major clean-up campaigns and broad-scale mapping of the island.
Organic certification now opens the way for the creation of niche agricultural products for local and export markets and the development of organic tourism projects. This will complement other income-generating activities already developed under Simbo for Change, including the establishment of beehives and the extension of traditional weaving practices to service the Gizo and Honiara markets.
Savings clubs with over two hundred women members have also been established, helping Simbo women to send children to school and access medical treatment. Contributions to the National Provident Fund by these savings clubs are a “breakthrough and something that no one else in this constituency is doing” according to the Member for Parliament for Ranogga-Simbo, the Honourable Charles Sigoto.
PLP has been tracking the Simbo for Change initiative through action research. There are early indications of improved family livelihoods, increased social and family cohesion and better health outcomes since the start of the initiative. Women’s confidence and skills have also grown, they exercise better financial management, their voices are heard more often and some participate in leadership within their communities. The Simbo for Change partnership has been an effective vehicle for the empowerment of women in Simbo communities.
Posted: Tue 19 Dec 2017