The UN Development Programme (UNDP) joins hands with the Solomon Islands Government and the Australian Government to organize a four-day Outstanding Women Training and Planning Workshop.
The workshop took place on 14 -19 June in West Guadalcanal, providing practical tools and aiming to equip women leaders in the Solomons with the leadership skills and experience required to contribute effectively to decision-making in public, private and multilateral institutions.
Over 40 representatives from nine provinces including the electoral, development, and human rights sectors gathered together to identify practical activities which can be undertaken to contribute to enhancing women’s leadership and political representation in the country.
Convened by UNDP Solomon Islands, through its Strengthening the Electoral Cycle in the Solomon Islands Project (SECSIP), the “Outstanding Women” initiative was launched in 2019 to advance women’s leadership and promote gender equality in Solomon Islands. Communities throughout Solomon Islands were invited to nominate and conduct elections to choose women valued for their contributions and achievements.
The names of 120 women nominated may be found in the Outstanding Women booklet that features the stories of 11 women who received the highest number of votes in nine provinces, including the capital Honiara.
Speaking at the opening of the workshop, Ms. Taeasi Sanga, the Deputy Chairlady and Commissioner of the Solomon Islands Electoral Commission, reiterated the Solomon Islands Electoral Commission’s gratitude to the Government of Australia and UNDP for their continuous support to strengthen democratic processes and elections through the SECSIP project.
“An expressive and active participation of all major segments of society in political processes is an indispensable aspect of a strong democracy,” Ms. Sanga said.
She thereby stated that “this Outstanding Women initiative moved the Electoral Commission to new heights in terms of inclusivity and gender-equal participation in the electoral processes.”
Ms. Sally-Anne Vincent, Australian Deputy High Commissioner to Solomon Islands, welcomed the participants of the workshop and emphasized Australia’s strong commitment “to promoting women’s leadership roles across Solomon Islands’ communities.”
Ms. Sally-Anne Vincent further highlighted the important role Outstanding Women play a catalyzing role in driving social change.
“They are role models – a combination of strong familial connections, taking initiative in their communities, acknowledgment of culture, and a steadfast sense of strength and self, are a few of the many characteristics that continue to drive this social shift.”
Echoing the same sentiment, UNDP Country Manager in Solomon Islands, Berdi Berdiyev said that “equal involvement and participation of women and their recognition as leaders at the community, provincial and national levels is a critical element of UNDP’s support to advancing women’s leadership.”
Mr. Berdiyev further added, “this workshop not only provides the opportunity for capacity building but also builds a platform to share the challenges and potential solutions to support future women leaders in assuming leadership and decision-making positions.”
Summing up the collective work at the workshop, the participants finalized the Outstanding Women roadmap for 2022, its work plan and budget, considering available resources and logistical aspects.
With the 2030 Agenda as a guiding thread, UNDP works to advance women’s participation in civic and political life, their economic empowerment and their role as builders of peace and resilience.
Advancing women’s leadership and encouraging them to take leadership roles is an integral part of SDG 5 with target 5.5 aiming to ensure women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunity for leadership at all levels of decision-making in political, economic, and public life.
The Outstanding Women Training and Planning Workshop was organized by the Strengthening the Electoral Cycle in Solomon Islands Project (SECSIP). SECSIP is implemented by UNDP Solomon Islands and has received financial assistance from the Australian Government.