Australian High Commissioner Dr Lachlan Strahan was pleased to come together with representatives from the Ministry of Women, Youth, Children and Family Affairs(MWYCFA) and development partners on 18 December to launch Australia’s new Gender Equality Plan for Solomon Islands 2020-2022.

The Plan sets out Australia’s future investment in gender equality activities in Solomon Islands over the next two years. It builds on Australia’s long-term work with Solomon Islands partners to prevent domestic and family violence and introduces new women in leadership and economic empowerment programs.

“It is vital that Australia, the Solomon Islands Government and our key civil society
partners step up their efforts to advance gender equality to drive real and sustainable change. This is about fundamental human rights, unlocking greater prosperity and maintaining peace and security,” said Dr Strahan.

“We all have the same goal to ensure women and girls in Solomon Islands, and across the Pacific region, have the right to education, economic participation and leadership opportunities, and the right to feel safe from violence.

“Australia will continue its vital work with its long-standing partners on preventing
domestic and family violence. But I am pleased that we have also identified new
partners to bolster the voice of women in decision-making forums.

“We know that gender inequality is the root cause of violence against women and girls, which is why we are investing in new programs that work towards closing the gendergap and realising women’s economic empowerment.”

New projects identified in the Gender Equality Plan for Solomon Islands 2020-2022
include financial support to women’s groups that are recognised ‘change makers’ in the community, the Women’s Rights Action Movement, the National Council of Women and the Provincial Council of Women.

Targeted core and operational funding will go to two additional groups that enable and empower women’s voices in public discourses, the Solomon Islands Women in Business Association and People with Disabilities Solomon Islands.

The Plan outlines work with market vendors across Solomon Islands to address the
impact of COVID-19 on livelihoods through the successful ‘Markets for Change’
program delivered by UN Women.

The Plan sets out further funding for the Family Support Centre and the Christian Care Centre – Solomon Islands’ key domestic violence service providers, which will receive continued support from International Women’s Development Agency (IWDA).

Australia will continue to fund World Vision and Oxfam projects in Solomon Islands
that seek to change behaviours and attitudes towards violence against women by
working with faith and community leaders and churches, and directly through local

Australia will continue to work in partnership with the MWYCFA as it leads on gender policy and implementation across Solomon Islands, and provide more technical support to the Ministry.

Funding to the UN Women’s Pacific Partnership will help the Ministry to roll out the national SAFENET domestic violence referral network and the Domestic Violence Counselling Guidelines.

The Gender Equality Plan for Solomon Islands 2020-2022 will complement Australia’s regional gender programs and remains a key element of its health, education, law and justice, and economic growth development programs in Solomon Islands.

The 10-year Pacific Women Shaping Pacific Development program (Pacific Women) commenced in 2012 is ending and a new program is being redesigned. The design process will actively engage local and regional organisations to ensure it is led locally and fit for purpose.

Source: Press Release