“Now we know what we can do. This will help our marketing and help our families too.”
This was shared by one of the 25 market vendors from Honiara Central Market who were awarded with certificates last week after successfully completing the Honiara City Council ‘Food Safety and Hygiene’ training – a prerequisite for selling cooked food in Honiara City.
The predominantly female participants who are also members of the Honiara Central Market Vendors’ Association, found the training to be very valuable. One younger participant stated that: “I came to learn about something that can help me in the future and help my future family.”
Part of UN Women’s Markets for Change project, the workshop to improve market vendors food handling practices was an initiative by UN Women, Honiara City Council and the Honiara Central Market Vendors’ Association. The six-year Markets for Change project is made possible primarily through funding from the Australian Government, as part of its Pacific Women Shaping Pacific Development initiative.
“The training has helped to empower market vendors, especially women, to ensure the food they are preparing is safe,” says Kristy Nowland the project manager for Markets for Change in Solomon Islands. “If their food is safe then this can help improve their work at the market and as a result ensure a higher and more secure income.”
Ms Nowland adds that the Markets for Change project is committed to initiatives that will lead to the economic empowerment of women, which will enable women to bring about positive changes in their own lives and their communities. On a wider level, the empowerment of women is also important for long-term growth and sustainability.
The closing ceremony was attended by stakeholders from Honiara City Council, the Australian Government and the Honiara Central Market Vendors’ Association, all of whom encouraged the market vendors to put their learning into practice and share it with others in the marketplace.
Certificates were presented by Deputy City Clerk, Mr Fred Jones Warereau, Chief Health Inspector, Environmental Health Division, Honiara City Council, Ms Christina Onahikeni, and Ms Snehal Sosale from the Australian Government. Deputy City Clerk also acknowledged the potential for Honiara City Council to work together with the Honiara Central Market Vendors’ Association to look at ways to improve the market in the future.
The recent formation of the Honiara Central Market Vendors’ Association opens up an avenue for market vendors to work together as a community and participate in decision-making processes with Honiara City Council which looks after and manages the market.
UN Women’s Markets for Change project works closely with local governments and market vendors, especially women, as well as other stakeholders. In Solomon Islands, Markets for Change is working with Honiara City Council and Malaita Provincial Government.