United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the Bank of South Pacific (BSP) have signed a pro-bono agreement to kick-start a series of ‘Continuing Marketing Business Education’ trainings.
This is part of UN Women’s Markets for Change project.
A statement from Market for Change organization said, these workshops will help strengthen financial literacy and business practices for market vendors, especially women, who make up the majority of market vendors in Solomon Islands.
At a signing event held at the BSP Boardroom on Wednesday, Akiko Suzaki, UNDP Deputy Resident Representative, explained that “under this partnership agreement we are signing today, UNDP and BSP will be working together with UN Women, the Australian Government as well as Honiara City Council and Malaita Provincial Government – the responsible authorities of the two Markets for Change project sites- to deliver appropriate trainings, provide space, and encourage dialogue to improve and strengthen the financial literacy and business practices of market vendors.”
The ‘Continuing Marketing Business Education’ trainings will be a chance for market vendors to learn basic financial literacy, budgeting, savings and record keeping, as well as open opportunities to increase their access to financial services.
BSP Solomon Islands Country Manager, David Anderson highlighted that the trainings will involve those who have previously had limited opportunities to improve their marketing practices and increase their incomes.
A key part of the trainings will be focused on increasing knowledge and skills around mobile banking services.
UNDP and BSP will be coordinating with local and provincial governments to roll out the series of trainings in Honiara and Auki.
Ms. Kristy Nowland, UN Women’s Markets for Change Project Manager for Solomon Islands said, this partnership agreement signals the start of a very important element of the Markets for Change project.
Marketplaces provide a vital income stream for numerous families. Income earned from market trading supports families by paying school fees, household expenses, and ultimately keeping families out of poverty.
However, many factors impact on and add risk to the work of market vendors, including the lack of access to financial and social protection services.
“Supporting economic and social outcomes at marketplaces has the potential to set into motion longer-term transformative processes and practices for women’s empowerment and gender equality,” Ms Nowland explains.
“Part of the way forward is recognising the work of market vendors as real and valuable work.”
UN Women’s Markets for Change project is an innovative six-year regional project focusing on ensuring marketplaces in the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Fiji are safe, inclusive and promote women’s economic empowerment. Markets for Change is implemented in partnership with UNDP and principally funded by the Australian Government through the Pacific Women Shaping Pacific Development programme.
The signing event on Wednesday was attended by representatives from BSP, UNDP, UN Women, the Australian Government, Ministry of Women, Youth, Children and Family Affairs, Honiara City Council, The Honiara Central Market Vendors’ Association and the Auki Market Vendors’ Association.