THE Gizo Environment Livelihood Conservation Association (GELCA) savings club has been applauded for its role to economically empower women.
The GELCA savings club is a component of the Inshore Fish Aggregating Devices (IFAD) that seeks to empower rural women from communities of Gizo, Nusatuva and Kolombangara.
World Wildlife Fund (WWF) country manager Shannon Seeto said the IFAD project was basically focused on improving the lives of local fishing communities with the opportunity to earn better incomes from their catches.
Mr Seeto said the IFAD project will enable rural women to make an income from what they caught from the FADs and boost their savings to enable rural women to have their own economic power.
“The GELCA Women’s Savings Club is the micro finance component of the IFAD project and assists its members in saving money earned through their daily gardening and marketing activities,” Mr Seeto said.
He said the overall objective of the micro finance initiative is to encourage the rural women of the Gizo and surrounding communities to participate in small financing activities and introduce them to business activities, savings, loans and banking initiatives.
Mr Seeto added by doing this will empower women in their own right to make their own decisions and work towards achieving their goals.
Mr Seeto added that after the establishment of the project, women who are members of the micro finance scheme have seen the benefits from the project.
Speaking on behave of both GELCA and NECDA Women savings clubs, Salome Topo said the establishment of the seven zones in Gizo and Nusatuva, is not a dream but it’s an opportunity and empowering all women to save their money to grow and develop within their family as well as to meet their future aims/goals.
Ms Topo said the women are thankful to WWF Australia, AusAid and John West for their support and WWF Solomon islands office for such initiative which women have already seen and experience the positive changes to their lives and their families.
Meanwhile, Ms Topo advised the women that to improve the standard of living here in the Solomon Islands is not an overnight thing but it takes time.
“Thus, the idea of being ‘save little by little and you grow’ is the empowering statement that all women must consideration as you work towards your dreams and goals,” Ms Topo told the women.
By DANIEL NAMOSUAIA