Women and girls from the Malango Ward of Central Guadalcanal have joined hands with the Tina River Hydropower Project Office this week to commemorate International Day of Rural Women (IDRW) at Kaimomosa Village, Belaha.
The communities celebrated with various activities on Tuesday to promote the global theme for 2022 “Rural Women -key for a world free from hunger and poverty.”
The theme focuses on equality and empowerment for women, encouraging people fight against the problems of hunger and malnutrition, especially in the agricultural sector.
As part of commemorating the event this year, women and girls of Malango were able to share their stories and showcase their spiritual, economic and cultural experiences and skills through singing, dancing and crafting.
Tina River Hydropower Project Office Gender Officer, Helen Dolaiano said the occasion is also an important time to highlight the roles women and girls play in the food system or agriculture.
“In the context of Malango women, agriculture is one of the most important areas I see that is economically viable, if we hold hands and work together to invest and continue to support our rural women and girls.”
Mrs Dolaiano added “I believe if we recognize and maintain our cultural roles and values and work together to improve our agricultural and food system, we can be able to help lessen the high rates of diseases, poverty, hunger and so on.”
“With Tina River Hydropower Project Office, the Gender Action Plan (GAP) supports and provides training opportunities for women and girls in the last three years with the goals to build their capacities, empower them, establish networks and partnerships, improve health and livelihoods and more.”
Some of the skills displayed during the event are just a few of the things women and girls of Malango have learnt from the GAP training opportunities that the project has provided.
Joining the event as guest of honour was Honorable Rose Tala, Guadalcanal Provincial Government’s Minister for Women, Youths & Sports. Speaking at the event, the Minister said the theme is very fitting especially in the context of the rural women of Guadalcanal as sole providers of good food for the residents of Honiara.
“That being said, I’m also thinking of our mothers and sisters in the rural areas around the province. We are providers and suppliers of good and quality food.”
Minister Tala also went on to highlight the need for the national government to relook at the ‘Agriculture Sector’, because in Guadalcanal’s matrilineal culture, women or girls are naturally the providers.
“The Agriculture Sector should be one of the most important priorities of any government. With this in mind, we can empower our rural women to not only get into agri-business, but at the same time continue to cultivate the best organic supplies of food to Honiara,” she said.
Malango Women’s representative, Sharon Para said the women of Bahomea, Malatoha, and Belaha are happy and proud to host an international event alongside the Tina Project Office for the first time.
She said, the theme for the IDRW 2022 is an emotional one because it speaks the truth of the challenges they faced as women in the rural area.
“In agriculture, we are truly the key for a world free from hunger and poverty. That’s the activity that we have been struggling with, in order to meet the financial demands associated to education, health, and our daily lives just to keep our families going.”
Ms Para further stated that despite the increasing challenges in the agricultural sector in the rural area, the women of Malango are looking forward for more support from the stakeholders of the Tina River Hydropower Development Project.
She also commended the Tina Project Office for providing various GAP trainings which have empowered many rural women from Central Guadalcanal.
The Gender Action Plan has been in place for the Tina River Hydropower Development Project since 2019 and will continue to provide trainings and opportunities for women and girls in communities in the Tina Hydropower catchment area.