GIZO Market Vendors Association (GMVA) along with women from the surrounding islands of Western Province celebrated the annual International Women’s Day (IWD) on Monday.
The event was colorfully commemorated at the Gizo main market seafront.
Chairman of Gizo Market Steering Committee, Minister for Women, Youth and Sport, Council of Women and Women leaders, Plastic Wise Gizo, Health representatives, Church representatives, all vendors, and the public gathered to mark the women’s big day.
The theme for the event was: ‘’Celebrating the achievements of women through every walks of life.’’
The theme is specifically for the women of the province and the achievement they made in their daily lives.
Whilst the main theme for 2021 International Women’s Day was: Women in Leadership: Achievement an equal future in Covid-19 World, Choose to Challenge.’
In his opening remarks, guest of honour and Provincial Minister for Women, Youth, and Sports Chriswell Minu said this year the international women’s day is not like others given the challenge brought about COVID-19.
He said the current situation has placed a huge challenge to women in the province and the around the country.
It was highlighted the current health pandemic had also seen an increase in violence taking place against women and girls.
He also added, despite the many challenges faced by women and girls it’s also important to celebrate the achievements of our local women.
He took time to acknowledge Oxfam International through the Western Council of Women for the Seif Families Program is working hard to end violence against women and girls.
He further thanked the churches through their respective women’s group, Western Provincial Health Environment Division, and Western Province Council of Women (WPCW) for the Plastic Wise program which continued to help support women in the province.
He also acknowledged the World Bank through the CAUSE project for including unemployed women and girls, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) through its Women Economic Component in supporting women through the saving clubs in Simbo, Kolombangara, and Gizo.
Mr. Minu assured the women that the Gina-led Government has is working on a policy to build more women’s resource centre to be a focal place for women in Ward level.
“The Women’s Division is working on this and hopes to have building plans in place for 2021/2022 for two resource centre and two safe houses for survivors.
‘’And I stand here to urge our government to fulfill its Action for Women and Girls of Western Province,’’ he said.
He further hailed the UN Women and Australian Government for their ongoing support under the market project which enables women to sell their products.
GMVA President, Loretta Nasala acknowledged all the women around the province for their hard work and overcoming the daily challenges they faced, and the courage they possess in their daily lives.
“Women are all leaders, both who are working and educated and those women in our villages,” she said.
Western Provincial Women Desk Officer Lizzy Wong also thanked the GMVA for taking the initiative to host and commemorate the big day for women.
The participants also took time to place wreaths (flowers) onto the market sea-front to honour and remember other women from other islands in the province.
The program ended with refreshment and entertainment.
BY ULUTAH GINA
GIZO NEWS BUREAU