International Women’s Day is marked annually every 8th March and aims to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievement of women everywhere.
This year World Vision will join other organisations to show their support for the women of Solomon Islands and around the world, by participating in a parade from the Honiara City Council along with other activities.
Gender remains a significant sector for World Vision. The World Vision Gender program is helping to improve gender equality in the Solomon Islands, using the Australian funded Community Channel of Hope (CCoH) program.
The program, which primarily targets gender-based violence using a faith-based approach, is also changing attitudes and behaviour by improving gender relations.
The program uses Community Hope Action Teams (CHATs) as advocates for gender issues. The CHATs are community members who create and conduct local action and information sharing about gender, peace, positive conflict resolution and substance abuse.
One CHAT member, Everlyn Poasi, a faith leader at Mamanawate community, says since the implementation of the project in their community, she has noticed many changes. Now, she says, men and women in their community are working together in almost everything.
“Men are helping women, particularly their wives, in their work,” she said.
“And women are now taking leading roles in community meeting and planning and men mainly supporting.”
There have been other positive results too. An independent evaluation by University of Queensland, Australia, asked participants to agree or disagree with the statement that ‘the Bible says men are superior to women’, 78% of people in the target community disagreed, compared to 58% before the program started.
World Vision believes that these finding demonstrate a significant change in attitude and a positive step forward for gender equality.
World Vision Country Director Janes Ginting is hopeful that these results can be replicated across the Solomon Islands.
“Behaviour and attitude changes take time, and it may take one generation. But, what we're observing now is that we have a sign of hope that changes are possible and it is happening. We shall build on this momentum and work together to bring about gender equality in Solomon Islands,” said Mr Ginting.
The Australian Government supports the Community Channels of Hope project.