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What would you do with $250, 000?

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Mr Sasako
IT’S not often you hear of a chance to win a quarter of a million dollars in Solomon Islands, do you?

Much less, how such a huge amount of money can be made within a short period of time. Another fast money scheme? Not necessarily so.

There is a difference with this one. Not only is there a chance to make a quarter of a million dollars in quick time, the scheme comes with an opportunity to participate in activities designed to protect the environment as well as to help raise funds to help the sick.

The Environmental Peoples Foundation of the Solomon Islands and Melanesia (EPF – SIM) is offering a chance for anyone who’s willing to invest $50 in a SOL CASKET ticket with the potential to grab $250, 000 in cash as the first prize.

There are three other cash prizes as well. For example, the second prize is $50, 000, with the third at $20, 000 and the fourth at $10,000.

Sol Casket was set up to raise funds for the Foundation. It has set its sight on raising $1.2 million from ticket sales.

Fifty per cent of proceeds would be spent on medicine and hospital equipment. The other $600, 000, less prize and management costs would be pumped into environmental projects.

Although sale has been somewhat slow, organisers believe it would pick up as more and more people get to know about Sol Casket and its objectives.

 “There’s something special about the people of Solomon Islands. They always want to help each other and I think the Foundation has provided a great opportunity for them to help,” one man associated with the Foundation said.

 “To ensure everyone is given an opportunity, the Foundation will shortly be appointing agents in various provincial centres including Gizo in Western Province,” the man said.

Foundation secretary, Henry Sitai, said his team had identified a number of projects to be undertaken.

These include a clean-up program of the Honiara foreshore and waterways as well as sourcing medical equipment and medicines from abroad for our hospitals.

In Honiara, local people would be employed to undertake the cleanup work.

 “The philosophy of EPF – SIM is [to provide] solutions, funding and management to the environmental issues that beset the country and assisting the health needs of the people, on a step by step, stage by stage basis; provide alternative environmentally friendly, sustainable incomes for the people so that they do not denigrate their own environment, through over-harvesting of their natural resources.

Its aim is also to “provide a country that is balanced in all matters in relation to the development of the people and protection of their natural environment.”

 “On environmental issues various groups are committed to the beautification and cleaning up the rubbish tip in certain areas that Honiara has become and making the people aware of their civic responsibilities,” the prepared materials said.

Mr Sitai said the Foundation’s work also covers the nation’s depleting forestry resource, which is being logged at an unsustainable rate.

For this reason, the Foundation is committed to “the environmentally, sustainable harvesting of the country’s native forests and a concerted approach to reforestation projects” to counter what was highlighted in the Solomon Islands’ Native Forest 2006 Assessment Update.

 

The assessment has found among other things that:
  • Current logging levels are unsustainable as it is four times too high;
  • Loggable forests expected to be wiped out by 2014;
  • Significant negative impact on national revenue expected; and
  • Increased unemployment
The report warned that unless logging is reduced by 200, 000 cubic metres per annum and further entry is anticipated, the 2014 deadline is far-fetched.

“… we would be quite sure that 90 per cent of the natural forests will be harvested by this date [2014],” the Foundation said.

“The only option in wood flows for the future currently is in the two sub-sectors of large scale and village-based plantation trees,” it said.

In its effort to address these problems, the Foundation has taken a number of steps.

These include sourcing “a fast growing species of trees” that could fill the gap until native forests re-generate which could take up to 40 years as well as through international global programs such as certified emission reduction [CER] funding to help local landowners plant trees to help protect their native forests.

The Foundation has also been busy since its registration earlier this year, doing a stock take of sorts of the specific needs in our health care system.

It has, for example been “actively sourcing medical equipment and medicines for the National Referral Hospital, provincial hospitals and clinics throughout the country.”

 “To date the Foundation has been promised 50 hospital beds, wheel chairs and is also sourcing breast cancer and prostate cancer medical equipment, eyeglasses and the extra base medicine and medical supplies that the country hospitals and clinics require,” the Foundation said.

But who are the people behind the set up? And is the Foundation a legal entity.

Incorporated under the Charitable Trust Act on 9th April last year, the EPF – SIM is a non-profit organisation.

Mr Sitai said the Foundation is the brainchild of a “blend of people with experience in the public arena [and] business expertise.”

They include former Governor General, Sir George Lepping, who heads the Board of the Foundation, which also has a trustee.

 “These people are committed to [the] preservation of the environment and people of the Solomon Islands and Melanesia in perpetuity,” Mr Sitai said.

Mr Sitai acknowledged that the success of the fundraising drive by the Foundation depends largely on the support of the people of Solomon Islands.

“I am confident the objectives of the Foundation would be achieved, given that Solomon Islanders are always looking for an opportunity to help one another,” he said.

 “The Foundation and its activities provide that opportunity.”