Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Go local banana workshop held

Monday, 28 June 2010 11:01

As a result of the work done by Graham Lyons, Lois Englberger and Jeff Daniells when they did the banana and sweet potato nutritional awareness workshops in the Makira recently in collaboration with Kastom Gaden Association, a follow up “Go Local” Banana Diversity” project was now implemented by KGA, under the auspicious of Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) -Genetic Resources Division/Centre for Pacific Crops and Trees.

The work showed really clearly the incredible genetic diversity that exists in the Solomon Islands and importantly the nutritional diversity.

This small project was funded by “The Christensen Fund” and will be implemented in two sites.

One will be at Atoifi Adventist Hospital (Kwaio) in Malaita province and the other at Aruligo on Guadalcanal province.

The project ‘Go Local: Using Traditional Banana Diversity to Strengthen Food, Nutritional and Cultural Security of Communities in the Solomon Islands” will involve the collection of local Banana varieties and establishment of 2 Genebanks on these sites and 2 other sub-operating sites at Sukiki on Guadalcanal and Kwaibaita on Malaita.

As the first step towards the implementation of the project, a two days planning meeting was held at the KGA head quarter – Burns Creek on 15 – 16 June 2010.

Participating at the meeting were representatives from the Atoifi Hospital, 2 lead farmers at Aruligo and staffs of Kastom Gaden Association, who will be implementing the project over the next 12 months duration.

Initial discussions during the workshop identified the following to be among the set of criteria for selection of the unique varieties:

Importance in use for food security and livelihood Relative ease in preparation and consumption Importance as food source during during those times when disaster strikes. Variety having a specific use in cultural undertaking such as relevance for hunting trips, medicinal values etc. Varieties that tend to be sidelined due to low value attributed in the markets. Recognized as varieties important in good nutrition. Varieties no longer featured in typical food gardens in the communities. KGA attached the fundamental importance of food crop diversity and conservation to its program, and with the previous Makira project experience, it is felt that the same project should be carried out in other provinces to see what diversity they have there.

It is also important to try and save some banana varieties which somehow no longer exist in some parts of the Islands.

On the other hand, KGA is encouraging our people to grow and eat more local produce for food security and sustainable healthy living.

The ‘Go Local’ project aims to increase production and consumption of local foods using its rich and most biodiversity food systems.

Changes in lifestyle and diet over recent years, resulting in an overdependence on imported foods, have led to a worrying upward trend in obesity, diabetes, heart disease and cancer in adults and micronutrient deficiencies in children.

However, as a result of KGA’s effort and anticipated successful outcome of such projects as the ‘Go Local: Using Traditional Banana Diversity to Strengthen Food, Nutritional and Cultural Security of Communities in the Solomon Islands” KGA is optimistic that communities will once more opting for healthier diets based on their rich cultural heritage of local foods.

By Clement Hadosaia


Earthquake struck off Kirakira, no damages

Monday 8 June 2010 11:27

The earthquake's epi-centre, off Makira Island.

A 7.1 magnitude earthquake has struck near Makira on Saturday afternoon.

The United States Geological Survey said the quake struck at a depth of 35km off Kirakira.

Officials in the capital Honiara, 200km from the quake's epi-centre, said it was felt quite strongly there but there were no immediate reports of damage.

A similar type earthquake measuring 7.2 also struck Haiti early this year which left some 200, 000 people dead and millions now homeless.

The Pacific tsunami warning center said there was no tsunami warning in place.

In Honiara the National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) on Saturday also said no tsunami threat was issued despite a strong earthquake 35 miles West South West of Makira.

The quake was reported as 30 km deep.

NDMO warned communities closest to the epicentre to avoid entering structures that may have been loosened by the strong quake.

The statement said this is due to possible aftershocks that could potentially cause further damages.

The NDMO also said HF reports it received from parts of the weather coast of Makira didn’t mention any damage or casualty.

A Central Guadalcanal HF radio also reported they felt the strong quake but there weren’t any damages.

The statement also added a helicopter overview flight organised to check areas closest to the epicentre couldn’t go beyond Marau Sound due to bad weather.

The flight left Honiara at 9 o’├žlock yesterday morning once the weather settles down.


Friday, June 25, 2010

Makira province and its development woes - a perspective

Dear Editor,

As the next general election is dawning I wish to make some personal reflections on how development has been pursued in Makira province over the last decade.

It is widely anticipated that the upcoming elections will be the biggest of all time. Already we have seen a record number of political parties launched and it is highly likely that a record number of candidates will also be vying for the fifty parliamentary seats.

In Makira, with the retirement of long-serving politician and former Member of Parliament for East Makira, David Sitai, another vacuum is created for potential successors. Undoubtedly, as a national leader David Sitai has contributed immensely to the country's affairs and I humbly give him accolades for his contributions to state and society.

Central Makira constituency's former Member of Parliament is now vying for his third term in the House and like all other contesting candidates he will be working all he could to try and make a return. How probable this could be is a matter that is best left to be decided on the 'judgment day'.

The scenario is of no difference for Ulawa-Ugi. I have been told by reliable sources that support for the former Member is still strong. However with a former long-serving MP and Governor-General also vying to make a comeback into the islands' political scene the 'fight' is going to be real hot and spicy. May the best candidate win.

As for West Makira, our former MP is also hopeful. A retired civil servant with vast experience and a two-term parliamentarian his fate will also be put to the test, come Election Day.

Over the years Makira has seen quite a low turn-over of parliamentary political leadership. Between the third and the sixth Parliaments, three of the constituencies (except for Central Makira which was established only in the fifth Parliament) maintained the same Members of Parliaments. It was not until when the late Solomon Mamaloni passed away and Nathaniel Waena resigned to become the Governor-General, that political leadership in West Makira and Ulawa-Ugi changed. So to an extent, on a constituency level, political stability existed within most of Makira-Ulawa Province.

Even at a Provincial level the province had produced one of the longest serving provincial Premiers of the country with the regime of Ramoni who served as Premier for a good number of years.

This is a likeable trend because stability ensures consistency and continuity in development activities and programmes. So at the outset with such a good record of stability one would assume that a lot of development has occurred between those years.

Each of the constituencies do have their own means of measuring the performance of their respective MPs and as a person from West Makira constituency I am not in a position to comment on the level of development in the other two seemingly stable constituencies of Makira Province.

On the other hand, as a Makiran I believe an overview of how development has progressed in the province as a whole over the years can be projected. While the role of Members of Parliament must not be muddled with that of the central government and the local provincial government, the overwhelming perspective is that there has been minimal economic growth and progress in development in the Province over the years albeit there has been stability.

The question to be asked therefore is why is this so? Stability with innovation, enthusiasm, vision and proper planning should yield development and economic growth. All the political leaders that have passed (including those that are still actively in the scene) are all people with respectable caliber and there is no doubt in my mind that they have in their time designed and formulated plans and programmes to initiate development to achieve growth and betterment of people's wellbeing. I also disqualify myself from questioning their capability, enthusiasm, vision and so forth.

This leads me to the question of "seleni". Is it that lack of access to money or finance the problem? Well, people in all levels of government use this obstacle very conveniently most if not all of the time as an explanation to lack of or poor and deteriorating service delivery. On the outset this is not surprising and is almost believable all the time given our ailing economic situation as a nation and being a dot in the global economic mainstream.

But making an in-depth consideration and examination, clouds of doubt began to rise in my mind, as to whether I should totally subscribe to the thought that lack of finance is the main problem. I understand that millions of dollars have been poured into the constituencies every year (more so within the four years of a parliamentary or provincial government term) through Members of Parliament in the form of RCDF, other government and donor-funded projects and programmes and recently the Millennium Development Fund, Rural Livelihood Fund and other sources of funding. In addition, the Provincial government has also been receiving sorts of government grants from the central government since Makira became a province of its own. Between the Members of Parliament and the provincial government every year almost ten million dollars are poured into the province and constituencies.

In addition, Makira province is host to abundant resources ranging from productive banana, cocoa and copra plantations to trees and forests, marine and aquaria and even beautiful untouched sceneries. On a tour around the global village (the World Wide Web) I even tumbled on a website administered by foreigners that featured Makira as a desirable tourist destination having an appeal for adventurous back-backers, bed-watchers and surfers. I realized that this is where the real money is; real hard-sweat money. So we should not totally rely on free-handouts- there is no free lunch these days anyway- and cultivate our own land, manage our own resources and venture into sustainable development initiatives.

The people in power, the political leaders, should be the driving forces in initiating such developments. They should be the drivers as the power to make decisions on our behalf is already vested upon them when we vote them into these responsibilities. With power comes great responsibility and our expectation is for them to lead us forward not backwards.

But the excuse of 'no any seleni' prevails. Often I would hear that the money available is not enough to engage in major development projects. With this preconception the millions of dollars poured into our constituencies every year are quickly slashed without even a dust of their rupturing on sight; even the air produced from the reaction is never felt. It is almost like dropping a one dollar coin into the deep blue sea for the sharks and whales that have no use at all for what value the money holds.

I believe that even in such a situation where there is little money, with the availability of abundant resources and (cheap) labour, we should still at least mark some progress over the years. But you do not have to be a rocket scientist to observe how bad basic services continue to deteriorate at the provincial capital and throughout the constituencies. While people may not be in a situation that could be regarded as extreme poverty (as food/banana is abundant and no body is starving or dying of dehydration) people are demoralized and therefore no longer hold any confidence on the government or political leaders. Lack of trust and confidence on the government and political leaders is a recipe for failure within a democracy.

MV. Bulawa, the only vessel owned by the Province has been at the slip-way for ages and much needed revenue that should be generated for the province through shipping continues to leak out. Private charterers who care less about people's interests but to maximize profits are the main beneficiaries in the industry. Well, with private charterers other forms of revenue are still earned by the province but it is nothing compared to, if there is a system in place whereby both the province and the constituencies (the people) are active participants in the industry, taking the upper hand, not just being mere price takers and indirect beneficiaries.

Worst still, MV. Haurosi, the ship that was bought with the money of West Makira constituents (RCDF) to salvage the constituency's- and therefore the province's- shipping problems has become a liability rather than being an asset. This, to me, defeats the whole purpose of having to purchase the vessel at the first place. Since it commenced operation little is known about the revenue it generates. Questions are even raised about the financial viability of its operations as to whether it is really making any profits at all. If it does make profits then people are still in the dark as to where the money goes. By the way it is operating (with constant visits to the slip way and regular engine failures) it would be surprising if it is even making a break-even.

It seems that its operation has literally sucked up all the RCDF money (that is if it has not been expended or 'archived' elsewhere) resulting in little or no benefit at all from RCDF by constituents. The only time am aware that RCDF was paid out to constituents was in its second-last strand when most successful project applicants were promised (depending on the total project cost) a maximum of SBD$10 000. I found out later that many successful applicants were only paid partially, even when their project costs were maximized and have been dully approved.

I also did a bit of reading and discovered that in the last government (CNURA) an airport was approved for West Makira constituency to be constructed at Bwa'u Village in Arosi II. Republic of China in Taiwan agreed in principle to fund the project through SIG. The development would have benefited the people through employment in the short-term. Needless to say, in the long run an additional airport on the island would have been a boost in development for the province as a whole. However, due to political levering the project did not eventuate as earmarked. So another opportunity for progress went begging just because of political ambitions overruling the common good of the people. Whether a new government will still be keen to pursue the project is a matter that only time will tell.

Certainly the airport was not the only development opportunity gone begging due to political ambitions of our politicians. Both at the provincial and national levels numerous development opportunities have been overlooked, ignored or neglected because political "principles" have overshadowed the real priority of the people; that is to 'see and feel' the effects of development.

The reality is that there is lack of cooperation among and between national and provincial leaders of the province. When they get elected into Parliament, their political affiliations and personal political ambitions take precedence and our Members of Parliament tend to overlook that it is only by working together and collaborating that real development can occur within the province. Even if they are bound by their political ties and the political friction between them is such that collaborating is not possible, their relationship with provincial members should not be affected, at least in the design and implementation of relevant development projects and programmes.

Sadly, this has not been the case and instead of being partners in development they are literally political opponents working to outscore one another. Theirs is a highly competitive political scoring game, whereby whoever scores the most points has a better chance of getting re-elected. Very minimal attention and energy is dedicated to long-term goals of the people and to ensure that any sustainable development eventuates.

Cooperation between and at both national and provincial levels of government is vital for the province. Major projects such as airports, shipping, wharves, roads and bridges and other infrastructure can impact positively on the province as a whole. Take the road and bridges rehabilitation project that is currently in progress at the Makira for example. The road runs through all three constituencies of mainland Makira and within a majority of provincial wards. This is a major development and we should be very grateful for the assistance of the World Bank, the national government and other parties and donors that are involved in this vital initiative. Certainly, its impacts will be greatly felt by all people within the province.

However my worry is that its success would only be short-lived if there is lack of effective collaboration between our political leaders at the national and provincial levels to ensure that the infrastructure is fully utlilised and maintained in the long run. I can recall that similar projects were initiated in the past but only to fail after a few years as the grasses and weeds reclaim their territory. There was little or no effort at all by our politicians at all levels to initiate much needed services that would allow people to fully participate and engage in the maximization of economic returns of such infrastructure. In some cases, the people themselves came up with their own activities, but without the support of leaders they can only do much. The irony is that, for the few that did they were even regarded as rivals by some politicians. This implies lack of distrust, created by the absence of harmony and cooperation.

In addition, there are also other overlapping issues such as security, addressing social problems such as unemployment and impacts of climate change and sea level rise. These issues cross constituency boundaries and one might argue that these fall under the auspices of any government of the day. True! But how could any government of the day possibly prioritises our province's development needs if our national and provincial leaders are divided in voice and deed? Coming together as a group of national but also provincial leaders to lobby for government support for major projects for the province can make a very huge difference than attacking the government or lobbying for support as pockets of individual pressure.

The situation is worsened when some of our political leaders at the national level become voiceless and lacks being constructive in their debates and discussions on the floor of parliament. This is an attitude which a former politician has described as "sleeping dog" phenomenon where Members rarely contribute on matters of national interest but only speak on general parliamentary business such as sine die motions. Otherwise, whenever they do speak their arguments are usually far from being constructive or only focused on their personal interests and aspirations.

Having the number advantage in government can be a favourable bargaining power that is beneficial not only to individual Members but also to the province and its peoples. Successful bargaining of the government at the cabinet level would result in development initiatives for the constituencies and therefore the province. When development projects are drawn national Members can collaborate through the government or directly to the provincial Members to ensure that project implementation are properly overseen and success is achieved. And when development is properly guided and supported by both the national and provincial leaders, people will benefit and will be able to 'see and feel' its impacts. Their levels of satisfaction and confidence will rise and therefore the tendency that a particular Member of Parliament or a Provincial Member will get re-elected will also increase.

This may sound too hypothetical but the reality is that all that people want to see is for development to occur and for it to impact on them positively in the long term. And once they do have confidence on one's ability to perform as a political leader their continuous support for that particular person will remain. Their loyalty will be established to stay unless the person otherwise falters.

Despite the controversies surrounding his political career and leadership (this is a non-issue in this discussion) the late Mamaloni remained as a Member of Parliament for West Makira until his passing away because he gained the favour of West Makirans. Those days may now be history as people then were not that politically minded and general circumstances may have changed. But the principle remains unchanged; that once a majority of voters are satisfied with a particular political leader's performance, loyalty, confidence and trust between them will be established. This could also be true in the case of the retiring David Sitai, or when Nathaniel Waena was the Member for Ulawa-Ugi for four consecutive parliamentary terms.

These political leaders may have gained their popularity among their own people through their own deeds and rights as Members of their respective constituencies. But the point I am proposing here is that gaining the favour of the people through cooperation and collaboration in development at both and among the national and provincial levels, as alluded to earlier, is even better. It creates a win-win situation for both political leaders and the people of the province as a whole.

That is what we want to see in Makira, to fulfill what our once provincial motto says: "Unity in Diversity".

Even the most powerful countries of the world are cooperating even more and the whole world is increasingly integrating into a single global village and economic mainstream.

If we continue to divide and rule, even with best plans and the right focus we will hardly fully blossom.

So I hereby call on any intending candidates- provincial elections for Makira is also not too far away - or our current political leaders to work in cooperation and collaboration with each other. It is only through cooperation and with mutual trust and confidence on each other that we can be able to positively and effectively deal with our development woes.

For the voters, it would be wise to vote out any current political leader in the coming national and provincial elections whom you see and feel is not there to serve the people but himself, his family and his cronies. These people do not deserve to be leaders. Vote in people who are capable in leading us in an equitable and just manner. Nafu for iumi suffer folom ota samfala lo olketa political leaders blo iumi where corrupt ia na.

May God Bless Makira Province.and Solomon Islands!

By Derick Manu'ari, Arosi One


Makira hit by lack of banking service

Friday, 25 June 2010 14:36

MAKIRA Provincial premier says lack of banking facilities is affecting businesses, government officers, churches and the general public.

Thomas Weape was speaking during Money Smart Day celebrations at Kirakira early this week.

He said the province is challenged by poor financial services affecting business houses government officers, churches and people in general.

“Kirakira has an absence of better banking services for years,” Mr Weape said.

“Banking services is very poor compared to other provinces.

“In terms of banking we are going back then before,” he said.

He said in the past Kirakira used to have a branch operated by the then National Bank of Solomon Islands (NBSI).

“But following the takeover by Bank South Pacific (BSP) the only branch in Kirakira and all other agents were closed down,” he said.

He said he was surprised that Kirakira BSP was left to operate as an agent.

“When BSP was introduced, we thought it would improve banking services here but we have been given false expectation and Kirakira was turned into an agent, my goodness,” he said.

Mr Weape said his consultation with the BSP revealed that there is a slim chance of promoting agent to a branch in Kirakira.

He said he had assurance from ANZ and urged them to quickly set up an agent or a mobile banking in the province once the road improves.

The provincial premier said lack of banking services had affected teachers and nurses who had to travel long hours to Kirakira to do their banking.

“If only there are mobile banks for the province, and other agents being set up around the province it would have saved time for these government workers,” he said.


Thursday, June 24, 2010

Money Smart day to Buala, Kirakira

 Thursday, 17 June 2010 09:35

THE annual Money Smart Day orangnised by the Central Bank will be celebrated in Isabel and Makira province this year.

The event was first held in Honiara two years ago in 2008 at the Art Gallery to coincide with the bank’s anniversary.

Since then the event had been an annual one which aims to create awareness and promote the importance of managing money and how the Central Bank operates in the country.

Last year Money Smart Day was held in Gizo, Western Province.

As part of the Money Smart Day, which will be held on Monday and Tuesday next week, two teams are heading to Buala and Kirakira to overseer the event.

While at the provincial capital they will conduct one day financial literacy workshops.

There will be booths for information about how to manage money and ways to get a loan for the solar power.

In 2008 former governor Rick Hou, stated that financial illiteracy amongst Solomon Islanders is a major reason why the concept of a 'Money Smart Day' came about.

He said the lack of financial literacy amongst the general population has given rise to scams by selfish individuals bent on taking advantage of people’s ignorance.

"Financial ignorance has given rise to get-rich quick schemes which rob many people of their hard earned savings.

"The absence of basic understandings of basic budgeting principles had led to many spending their income wastefully," Mr Hou said then.

He said although CBSI is doing its part to educate locals there is an urgent need to educate the population on financial matters.

"This will ensure families are in a better position to manage their finances."



Water tanks to Makira villagers

 Thursday, 17 June 2010 15:05

VILLAGERS of Natagera, Nafinuatogo and Gupuna on Santa Ana have been reminded of the importance of playing their part in any free-aid funded project on their island.

Acting director of the Environmental Health Division of the Ministry of Health and Medical Services, Chris Ruku made the reminder when he was there recently.

Mr Ruku was speaking during the handing-over of water tanks provided by the Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Programme.

He said community contribution is a significant component to the successful completion of any aid-funded projects.

“The support of the community to provide free labour, trees for timbers, sand and a positive attitude is a key element to the successful completion of any project whether it is from the national government or aid donors,” Mr Ruku said.

“The people’s support in the rural areas is a vital component for the successful implementation of projects destined for the rural areas.

“It is for this reason that both the national government and donor agencies placed greater emphasis on community contribution.”

Mr Ruku reiterated that without community cohesion projects would either fail to materialise or fail to complete on time.

“It is important for communities to be aware that these projects that are being given to our communities by the national government or donor agencies have a specific time frame indicating its implementation phases and when to complete them.”

He said it is common knowledge that a lot of projects have been unsuccessful in rural communities because people failed to honor their part in the implementation of these projects.

Mr Ruku had taken his time to talk at length on the importance of communities living up to their part of the bargain in project implementation in their communities.

He said the main reason why so many projects in rural communities have failed either to kick start or complete on time is mainly because of lack of community cohesion.

“Donor-funded projects such as schools, clinics, water supply, rainwater tanks or sanitation are fundamental to the raising of our peoples livelihood in the rural communities therefore it is an obligation on our part to help build these projects and look after them.

“The national government and donor-agencies do not have to spoon-feed us all the time but the onus is on us to do our part,” Mr Ruku said.

He described the involvement of the Santa Ana communities in the implementation of the Owa Rain Catchment Project under which the tanks were provided as “sad and disappointing”.

“This project should have been completed and handed-over to you in October 2009 but because of your unwillingness to cooperate and lack of community support this project had tp be stalled until 2010.”

He further added that their contributions came with a price tag therefore the situation as it stands today reveals that the communities of Santa Ana have not contributed anything at all towards the setting up of these rainwater tanks.

Mr Ruku revealed that the six rainwater tanks, 36 sheets of iron-roof and other accessories that have been provided for Santa Ana communities under the Owa Rain Catchment project.

Sanitation Programme cost the national government $77,000 under its Development Budget with additional assistance provided under the Health Sector Support Programme (HSSP), an Ausaid funded programme established in the Ministry of Health and Medical Services.


Gov’t Communications Unit

Kakamora boosted with new shirts

 Tuesday, 15 June 2010 13:05

REAL Kakamora’s soccer team have been boosted with new sets of team shirts for the upcoming Solomon Games.

The T- Shirts were sponsored and presented by local businessman and director of ASLAN Stationeries William Marau on Friday.

Marau from a Makira Ulawa province background said he was happy to assist the Real Kakamora boys and hope the best for them in the upcoming Games.

“I am proud to help my province especially in sports and I urge other business houses to follow and build good relationship within ourselves because through sports we unite despite where we come from”, Marau said.

Kakamora Coach Tommy Mana and the Real Kakamora team would like to thank Mr Marau for his generous support.

Mana told star sports that if he is not called early by Hekari FC he will accompany the boys to Auki for the games.

He said the Real Kakamora team is currently concentrating on their trainings.

He said that the final squad will be a combination of ten boys from the province and the other ten will be selected from Makira players based in Honiara.

He concluded that they are still to select the final ten Honiara based players but said that they will be prepared just in time for the Solomon Games which is scheduled to kick off in two weeks time.

Meanwhile, the Real Kakamora team played a friendly match with our O’league rep Koloale FC at the AE Oval on Friday with 1-0 win in favour of Real Kakamora.

The win was a boost for their campaign towards the Games.


Arona airstrip closure affects travellers

 Thursday, 24 June 2010 09:51

ARONA airstrip on Ulawa island, Makira-Ulawa Province has remained closed due to land dispute.

The airstrip was shut down a month ago after an argument broke out between landowning groups in the area.

This has denied air service to the people on the island.

This week those affected by the closure called on landowners to allow the airstrip to reopen while they sort their problem.

A spokesman Abraham Pasihi said those wishing to travel by air are affected by the closure.

“In fact we are in the dark as to the status of the dispute,” he said.

Mr Pasihi challenged the landowners to quickly resolve their problem so that flights can resume.

George Satu from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) confirmed yesterday the airstrip remained close due to land dispute.

He said they have not been advised whether the dispute has bee resolved at this stage.

He said because of the dispute the Civil Aviation has advised the Solomon Airlines to cancel all services to the island.

A spokesperson for the airlines has also confirmed that there are no services o the island for the past weeks.



Weape: More financial training needed

Thursday, 24 June 2010 09:46

PEOPLE in Makira have enough money to earn and save but the problem is lack of knowledge on how to manage it.

Premier Thomas Weape said this during the Money Smart day in Kirakira early this week.

The day was organised by the Central Bank of Solomon Islands as part of its 34th anniversary of operations.

This year the team visited Kirakira and Buala.

The Money Smart Day in Kira involved financial literacy workshop and seminars to allow locals to manage their money and know to draw up a personal budget from the income they earn.

“We have a lot of people earning money but there is a problem,” Mr Weape said.

“They have money but they don’t know how to manage it because they don’t know how to manage that small money,” he said.

He said such training is important to allow rural people have a fair knowledge about how to save and manage the money they earn from selling their products.

The premier said that Makira expects business activities to boost once road and bridge which are currently being constructed are completed.

“Because they will be able to access market in Kirakira and Honiara,” he said.

Mr Weape acknowledged the role played by the Central Bank to reach out to the rural people and provide such financial literacy training.


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Pamua students set to rock town

Wednesday, 16 June 2010 10:21

ST Stephen Community College in Makira is in full force in town, gearing up preparation for the school’s 100th anniversary.

School principal Patteson Toka said about 135 students who will carry out fundraising activities throughout this week are camping at the St Nicholas school.

Mr Toka said the students are armed with some very interesting performances.

“Our fundraising events are a must see,” he said.

He said they have a tight fundraising schedule this week.

“We already started on Sunday and last night, people around the All Saints area will have the opportunity to see some best entertainment.

“We will continue at St Alban, on Thursday at the Vura 2 Anglican church, Friday at GIPPOL 1, Saturday at the police club with a wheelbarrow drive during the day and Sunday is a must watch at St Barnabas.”

Mr Toka said the students will put on a cracking traditional and modern pageant show.

The principal appealed to former students, parents and guidance, supporters, families, relatives and the public to attend and support them in their efforts.

The 100 year anniversary celebration, which will be held at the school in Makira Province, is scheduled for October 15 to 17.

St Stephen’s Pamua School was established in 1910 by one of the Anglican missionary pioneers Charles Fox of New Zealand.

The celebration is set to attract many, including high level delegates from Anglican churches throughout the Solomon Islands.

One highlight awaiting visitors is a mango tree planted when the school opened and is still providing shade for students now.

Two old buildings are still standing as well.

Pamua host some 600 students throughout the country.

This includes Primary, secondary and vocational schools.



Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Business training for Makira

 Wednesday, 26 May 2010 12:11

MORE than 50 participants successfully completed a one week business workshop in Makira-Ulawa provincial capital Kirakira on Monday.

Dona Maneotoa of the province told the Solomon Star the participants came from the Central Makira constituency.

“The workshop was aimed at equipping participants with basic business skills,” Mr Maneotoa said.

He said participants learn about different techiques of running a buisness and how to properly manage them.

“This capacity building workshop had truly helped the participants to understand basic business knowledge and skills.”

Mr Maneotoa said the workshop was facilitated by representatives from MASE Business centre, Solomon Islands Small Business Enterprise Centre, and Small and Medium Enterprise Council.

He said participants were existing business men and women and those aspiring to start a business.

He added the workshop is part of the CNURA Government’s program through the Ministry of Commerce for the 50 constituencies in the country to improve their business skills through the existing business centres in Honiara.

Mr Maneotoa said two other constituencies in the province had already gone through the training.

Central Makira, he said, was the last of the three.

He said participants received certificates of participation.



Pawa given tents to house its students

Thursday, 27 May 2010 11:39

THE National Disaster Management Office Logistics Officer Paul Hauato two weeks ago delivered five large tents donated by UNICEF to Pawa School on Ugi Island in the Makira-Ulawa Province.

Pawa School lost one boys’ dormitory early this year during the 7.1 earthquake that struck between the weather coast of Makira and Renbel Province.

Makira-Ulawa’s Principal Education Officer Henry Rata gratefully accepted the UNICEF donation through NDMO and thanked both organisations for the “big support”.

“This comes at a time when the Education Authority of the Province and the Province as a whole are having difficulties in supporting the students, given the current economic hardships,” Mr Rata said.

“As a result of the damaged dormitory, the school has had to add more boys into already very crowded dormitories.

“Please convey our thanks to UNICEF for the kind donations which will help to lighten the burden not only for Pawa School but also for the Provincial Education Authorities,” Mr Rata said.

NDMO’s Logistics Officer Paul Hauato who travelled with the donations to deliver them to the Makira-Ulawa Education Minister Fred Wasui at Pawa School said the trip was satisfactory.

Mr Hauato also used the occasion to raise awareness about the procedures through which NDMO goes to organise for such support and also raised awareness about earthquakes and tsunamis as well as other hazards that often cause havoc in Solomon Islands.

“I saw the problems the school had after one of its old dormitories collapsed during the earthquake,” Mr Hauato said.

“It was very difficult for the boys who had to be pushed into an already crowded dorm. But I also saw the great relief the staff and students had when we erected the first tent to demonstrate how they should put up the rest,” he said.

Mr Hauato also said the Education Minister Wasui also praised UNICEF and NDMO for their joint effort in ensuring the donations get to Pawa School albeit two months later.

NDMO acting Director Janet Prakash also acknowledged the support of UNICEF as well as the Makira-Ulawa Province’s Education authority, the Provincial executive and the management of the MV Charisma in ensuring the donations got to their rightful destination.

She said the support given is a “short term” fix to the problem.

“The challenge is now for the Ministry of Education and the Makira Provincial authority to make sure that a new dormitory is built as soon as possible so that the students can go back to living in proper accommodation,” Ms Prakash said.

“The lessons learnt from the destroyed Pawa secondary school dormitory is that responsible authorities must make sure school buildings are built to stand the negative impacts of hazards and therefore appropriate standards are applied to important school infrastructure.

“The Ministry of Education, Ministry of works and donors funding school buildings are asked not to compromise students lives and well being with the dollar sign.”

She added such close working relationships always make sure that impacted communities in the country are quickly relieved of their problems.


Road work in Makira starts

Wednesday, 05 May 2010 13:12

ROAD rehabilitation is currently under-way in Makira Province from the US$24 million (SBD$185) signed under phase two of the Solomon Islands Road Improvement Project last year.

Director of Engineering in the Ministry of Infrastructure Development Ambrose Kirei said work had already started in Makira.

He said road rehabilitation started from Manuri road in West Makira and will end in Ravo in central.

Mr Kirei said 25 bridges will also be built and work is expected to complete by the end of next year.

“An International Contractor is engaged to build bridges in Makira and road will be built by community-based contractors using labour base equipments,” he said.

Mr Kirei said the total cost for the road rehabilitation in Makira is around US15 million.

He said too that Guadalcanal tender will go out this month and road construction will begin around August and September.

“11 bridges will be built and road rehabilitation will start between Poha and Naro in North West Guadalcanal where disaster always strikes,” Mr Kirei said.

He said it is estimated that $17 to $18 million dollars will be used for Guadalcanal road rehabilitation and once everything goes according to their plan the road construction might extend to Lambi.

Mr Kirei added that in North Malaita the contractors will start work early next year.

He said so far a social assessment team is in Malaita this week doing visibility assessment.

“After all the assessment is done tender will be sent out and work will kick off as early as next year,” Mr Kirei said.

Funding for the project came from the Asian Development Bank.