THE Western Province Council of Women (WPCW) is making preparations from the provincial capital Gizo, to extend their reach to the women of Shortland Islands and Marovo.
With the help of Oxfam’s Safe Families project, a delegation led by the WPCW will visit Famoa women in Shortland Islands at Nila and Marovo women at Seghe with the objective to consult women and share their views in the review of the current WPCW constitution and strategic plan.
The team departed Gizo this week for what would be the WPCW’s first-ever ground visit to the isolated communities of Shortland Islands and finally bridge the participatory gap with Marovo.
The WPCW President, Rendy Solomon says that these visits will be a major highlight because it will be the first time for the Council to directly interact with the women in these communities since its establishment in 2007.
“I know that women will be looking forward to us. Being out there for quite a while and just hearing stories, hearing us on radio, newspaper, or people telling stories but now we will actually meet and talk.
“We also make use of this opportunity to promote the role and functions of the National Council of Women structure to the provincial council and down to the rural communities.”
Solomon Islands National Council of Women (NCW) Women in Leadership Desk Officer, Casper Fa’asala is among the traveling team and is a key member of this objective. Ms Solomon says in addition one of the key objectives is to strengthen relationships and networks with women at the ward councils in the rural communities.
“As it is important to ensure our services reached our vulnerable population especially our women and girls at the rural communities services such as information on gender-based violence and counseling services for survivors of gender-based violence.”
Oxfam Capacity Building Coordinator for Safe Families project, Julia Cutforth says Oxfam prioritizes its partnerships and wants to provide ongoing support and resources to the consultation so that WPCW can reach out to its women members in rural communities in Shortlands and Marovo.
“For Oxfam, it is quite important and it’s a big milestone for Western Province Council of Women to take a step reaching out to their women in the rural communities. And it’s also about creating good partnership with the women, their members at the rural communities because the main members and main partners are the women in the rural communities.”
There are 26 ward council members of the WPCW. Marovo and Shortland Islands account for two of the ward councils. The central wards councils and New Georgia wards councils will be attending the consultations end of July in Gizo.
The Western Provincial Council of Women (PCW) works in partnership with the Safe Families Project, an Australian Government-funded initiative through Oxfam Solomon Islands. The Council was established in 2002 to represent the interests of women throughout the Western province.
Last year WPCW has established a partnership with Safe families’ project with the aim to prevent gender-based and family violence in targeted communities.
Violence against women and girls is prevalent in the Solomon Islands, every two out of three women are experiencing violence in a relationship.