Resilience today, growth tomorrow-Saeragi Community facilitators Ghizo, Solomon Islands | WWF

Resilience today, growth tomorrow-Saeragi Community facilitators Ghizo, Solomon Islands



Posted on 02 July 2020
Alpha Ghelly,community facilitator of Saeraghi, Ghizo, Solomon Islands.
© WWF-Pacific
Women, who are part of the Saeraghi community microfinance savings club in Ghizo, Western province, Solomon Islands, have taken emergency measures to adapt to the Covid-19 crisis for the survival of their families.
 
In a bid to prepare community members for the State of Emergency that was announced by the Solomon Islands government in March, community facilitators spared no time and held discussions with elders, where talks focused on the need to encourage people to concentrate more on backyard gardening, since there would be a shortage of imported food supplies.
 
Saeraghi is famous for its sea grape management, a project that is jointly funded by the Australian Government through the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Simplot Australia via their seafood brand John West.
 
The project works to improve the livelihoods of coastal fishing communities in the Solomon Islands, who traditionally rely on the ocean as their main source of protein for their livelihoods.
 
It has also trained local women to set up micro businesses such as small loan schemes to diversify traditional income streams.
 
Alpha Ghelly, who is the community facilitator of Saeraghi highlights that many women who are part of the microfinance savings club are now focusing on saving income earned for their families and have also initiated barter amongst other women market vendors.
 
“Women from Saeraghi barter at Gizo market with seaweed parcels for a heap of cassava or potatoes from the women of Ranogga, Kolombangara or Vella.”
 
“The money these women earn during this time is to support their families during the lockdown period,” Ghelly said.
 
He added that while this places pressure on food security, the seaweed area is still being managed however during this situation, they have experienced low sales, since there are not many customers at the Gizo market.
 
He added that during discussions, the women of Saeraghi had made a decision to also strengthen their food security by identifying vacant fertile land that is suitable for farming thus lessening their dependence on imported food.
 
“Most women have made the decision to move to Tirokongu, a block of land that is close to Kongu bay and has fertile soil that can support their farming.”
 
Many women, Ghelly added still joined the microfinance scheme, but due to social distancing have used this opportunity to raise awareness on the threat the virus to rural communities.
 
The women’s economic empowerment work is part of an integrated sustainable coastal communities project jointly funded by the Australian Government through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP) and Simplot Australia  via  their seafood brand John West,  in association with WWF-Netherlands. The project works to improve the livelihoods of coastal communities in the Solomon Islands, who traditionally rely on the ocean as their main source of protein for their livelihoods. It has also trained local women to set up micro-businesses such as small loan schemes to diversify traditional income stream.
 
Alpha Ghelly,community facilitator of Saeraghi, Ghizo, Solomon Islands.
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Women from Saeraghi with seaweed parcels
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