Wednesday, 15 October 2008 7:39 AM

Solomon Islanders Given a Voice

An independent nationwide survey of Solomon Islanders' opinions will be launched tomorrow by the Solomon Islands Government and RAMSI.

The People's Survey 2008 is an independent way of measuring each year what people think about progress and development issues related to the Government-RAMSI partnership. This is the third survey conducted.

The People's Survey is independently conducted by Australian National University Enterprise with the support of the Solomon Islands National Statistics Office. The survey involved Solomon Islanders interviewing 4,304 Solomon Islanders in five provinces and Honiara. Seventy-four focus group discussions were also held.

RAMSI Special Coordinator, Tim George said RAMSI placed a high priority on consulting directly with Solomon Islanders to ensure that RAMSI, the Government and the mission's contributing countries had access to reliable information on how people viewed its work and how they felt about key progress and development issues.

"The information from this independent survey feeds into the overall Performance Report of RAMSI. It will also help us in our ongoing review of RAMSI's operation and effectiveness in Solomon Islands," Mr George said.

"The People's Survey is a way for RAMSI, the Solomon Islands Government and RAMSI contributing countries to measure how RAMSI is performing against its objectives. The large number of people interviewed means that the results represent the view of Solomon Islands in general."

Government, non-government, civil society and other stakeholders are being invited to the launch to discuss the survey findings.

Mr George said that RAMSI was keen for the Government and other development stakeholders to use the survey as a tool to guide their work and to maximise the benefit of RAMSI's work.

The survey shows that many development challenges exist but that people strongly support RAMSI's continued presence in Solomon Islands.

Mr George said the support of the people of Solomon Islands is vital for the success of RAMSI's work - through the restoration of peace and now through the much more difficult and longer term work of developing the capacity of government institutions to provide effective and sustainable services across the country.