Remaining resilient in the face of Covid-19 Vanuva, Solomon Islands
Since the government of the Solomon Islands had announced a state of emergency which led to movement restrictions in early March, most of the Vanuva Women’s group members, found themselves unable to save and further support their Women’s savings club, since members of the public had been instructed to go back to their home provinces.
With less income to support their families, Alma Teu the community facilitator of Vanuva women’s club says keeping the health of their community members is a priority and that she and her family have continued to practice isolation for 2 weeks after the Solomon Islands government had announced a state of emergency.
“I am concerned about our members and we have been hand washing with soap and water in line with Covid-19 guidelines and encouraging isolation and social distancing,” Teu said.
“ Our tourist levels are low, income earned from the market is very slow since not many customers are buying our produce and that many people have been laid off, she added.
“Many women are still involved in the Microfinance scheme, but since the committee has decided to stop for a while, our next plan of action is to audit our funds and then continue with our microfinance savings once the restrictions are lifted,” she said.
“This time around, income earned from their sales would be slow but I am happy to say that most women have achieved their aims and goals for the savings scheme model that WWF has implemented,” Teu added.
With Covid 19 restrictions now lifted, WWF still continues to provide technical support to the Vanuva women’s groups.
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.