18 September 2020
An acknowledgement of government efforts to ward off Covid-19 amidst growing debt levels
Quoting extracts from a Editorial piece published in today’s Solomon Times Online.
“Solomon Islands is still COVID-19 free and our borders are being monitored daily. We have strict compliance measures for those that want to return to the country. We have checks before one boards the flight and additional checks when they arrive in country and are in quarantine. Close to 900 of our citizens have been repatriated, and all of them have tested negative. For that we should acknowledge the work our government is doing to keep us safe.
“Most of the funds used to finance our preparedness efforts are from aid donors – some of it will have to be repaid. The government announced, and has since disbursed, close to US$ 37.5 million in economic stimulus support. The funds were sourced from current government budget, government bonds, overseas concessional loans and direct budgetary support from donors and development partners.
“In short, Solomon Islands was not prepared for this, there was no “rainy day” fund we could draw from – no wealth fund, no sovereign fund, no budget surplus. Debt levels were rising well before the virus was declared a pandemic.
“The lesson for Solomon Islands is this; we are ill prepared for another crises – recurrent expenditure continues to dominate our national budget. The development budget has become “that other section in the budget” where we stack it up with our wish list. We have already stretched our borrowing capacity; we must start prioritizing what is important – not what is popular.”
Need for improved livestock in MOI
Quoting the Island Sun newspaper – 18 September 2020
“THE Livestock Department under the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock has identified the need for improvement of livestock in Malaita Outer Islands.
“Veterinary Dr Nelson Bofelo said findings made on pig farmers on the three main islands of MOI indicate the need for improvement of piggery farms.
He said in Luaniua his team visited 83 farmers and treated 46 pigs, in Pelau 23 pigs were treated out of 63 farmers and in Sikaiana 36 pigs were treated out of 73 farmers.
“Bofelo said most pigs were treated for worm endemic, pneumonia, nutrition deficiency, anaemia, mange and calcium deficiency.
“He said the pigs found with the disease were due to the environment they are raised in and food they are fed with.”
Copyright @ 2020, Island Sun newspaper.
17 September 2020
Preserving tradition, culture and identity as a Solomon Islander
I have often read stories over the years in the local media in the Solomon Islands which have caused me to ponder whether a failure to preserve one’s tradition, culture and unique identity as Solomon Islanders have led to divisions in society with resultant loss of kinship and lack of unity.
Today, I was reminded of the values of preserving one’s rich culture and identity when I read of the inspiring work of Gregory from Langalanga who makes shell money, being important cultures items in Melanesia.
Gregory’s story was revealed by Jeremy Gwao, writing one of his usual inspiring and touching pieces in the Solomon Times Online this morning.
I found the story particularly encouraging and I hope others will too.
Quoting Jeremy’s article, this is what he wrote.
“Shell money making is perhaps one of the most important cultural items in Melanesia. Langalanga, in Malaita Province, is among the few areas where shell money is still produced
“Gregory Waina was six years old when he learnt how to make shell money.
“The people of Langalanga are well known for their skill in shell money making. Gregory hails from Langalanga lagoon. His village is called Gwaedale.
“He lost his wife six years ago and he has remained single till now. His wife used to help him in the past. Gregory continues to make shell money, alone, but he seems content. One cannot help but think, in some ways, perhaps he is holding on to memories. But Gregory says he is holding on to his identity.
“It is interesting as it is my culture and identity. I am now 50 years of age, but nothing is more fun than earning an income through shells”, Gregory says.
“Shell Money was once Solomon Islands traditional currency. It is still used today for settling disputes, bride price and gifts.
"I usually send my products to the Central Market where there is high demand for these items. Even the price is good considering the process and the length of time it takes to make the shell money”, Gregory says.
“Gregory works alone; while it is a passion for him he says it is also an important source of income.
"I faced a lot of challenges because I work alone. The least I can do is to work to the best of my ability to put food on the table”, Gregory says.
“Sometimes he sells to families or buyers in the village at a lower price. This is for his other needs and wants.
"After all, this shell money business is really for me, just a single person," Gregory says.
“He works seven days a week and it keeps him busy and since it is his passion, he does not see it as work, or gets tired of plying his trade day in and day out.
“He usually buys shells from the Western province.
"Nowadays we ordered bag shells from the western province which is an additional expense”, he says.
“He explains that some specific shells are now hard to find which is why he buys them from the western part of the country. Gregory is one who believes in his culture and tradition and is proud to be one of many that are still keeping it alive.”
Remote Community in Makira Wants Better Communication Access
Quoting Solomon Times Online – 18 September 2020
“A youth from Tawaraha in Makira is calling on community leaders and elders to address the issue of communication in their community.
“Speaking to Solomon Times Online, Davis Rabubaru says as a student he finds it hard to access information he needs for his studies.
“Rabubaru, a student at the USP says his community lacks network connectivity. He says most times, the people in his village have to walk five kilometers inland to have good connectivity.
"I believe dissemination of information through communication in our remote places are very important”.
“Rabubaru says that it would be a lot cheaper for him if could do his studies in his home village. He says the course is designed for flexible learning and most materials are available online.
"I wish to go back home and carry out my studies online, but I cannot do that because in my community there is no network coverage. This has made me stay back in Honiara, despite the threat of COVID-19”, Rabubaru says.
“He says at this time of COVID-19 pandemic, it is also important people have communication access.”
Copyright @ 2020, Solomon Times Online.
17 September 2020
Solomon Islands: Rural Training Centres donated various farming and gardening tools by CARITAS in New Zealand.
Some 46 Rural Training Centres (RTC) nation-wide have benefitted from various tools and equipment donated by supporters of RTC in New Zealand.
A report in today’s Solomon Star newspaper is quoted as saying.
“A container loaded with most of the tools and items arrived a few weeks ago and were unloaded earlier this week.
“From last Tuesday, the various tools and equipment were distributed to all the RTC centres in the country.
“The donation was facilitated by CARITAS New Zealand, said Shirley Mana Project Monitoring Officer (PMO) within the Solomon Islands Association of Vocational Rural Training Centres (SIAVRTC).
“The assistance was made possible through a five year partnership program called START between SIAVRTC and CARITAS New Zealand (NZ).
“She explained, through CARITAS NZ an appeal was issued in New Zealand which saw people donating some of their unused tools and equipment
“Pete Erick representing the Solomon Islands Mission (SIM) SDA education office to oversee the distribution exercise, said a number of staff and students from nearby RTCs around Guadalcanal were engaged to unload the container and with the distribution of the tools and equipment to all the 46 RTCs.
“Joseph Pitakia SIM Education Authority Official said the donation of the tools, equipment and other materials would help most of the RTC centres around the country.
“He said a lack of proper power tools and equipment had been a challenge for many RTCs around the country.
“Mr Pitakia said the donation will boost the students in their practical exercises when undertaking carpentry, agriculture and mechanic courses.”
Source: Solomon Star News.
Thank you CARITAS NZ and all the donors of the tools in New Zealand.
Source: Solomon Star News.