The World Bank and the Solomon Islands Government have signed a grant agreement to help improve services for those affected by gender-based violence.

The US$130,000 grant from the Institutional Development Fund of the World Bank was signed by the World Bank Country Director for Timor Leste, Papua New Guinea and the Pacific Islands, Franz Drees-Gross, and the Solomon Islands Minister of Finance and Treasury, Hon. Rick Houenipwela.

In 2012, Rashida Manjoo, UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women, visited the Solomon Islands and stressed the need for more action to end violence against women and female children.

Ms Manjoo warned that "Violence against women starts at a young age, with the girl child being at risk of violence, both in the family and in the community”, citing 2009 official figures estimating that 64% of women aged 15-49 have experienced violence or abuse within an intimate relationship.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, Mr Drees-Gross said, “Gender violence is not only a violation of human rights, it affects the economy and places a heavy burden on services. We know that violence against women has a devastating impact on societies. It is a priority for the World Bank.”

The project aims to support the Solomon Islands in improving access to services for victims of gender-based violence, with a particular emphasis on domestic violence. Key organisations will serve as the frontline to the campaign, providing support services to victims in a forum that will allow them to identify priorities.

The project aims to support the Solomon Islands Government to improve access to services for victims of Gender-Based Violence (GBV) and in particular Domestic Violence (DV) by bringing together key organizations that are in the frontline of providing support services to survivors of domestic and gender-based violence in a forum that allows them to identify gaps and prioritise actions.

Minister of Finance and Treasury Mr. Hou added, “There is strong commitment by the Solomon Islands Government to promote gender equality. This project is part of a broad framework to address gender-based violence in Solomon Islands which will be critical for the country’s development.”