Wednesday 24 January 2018 (Solomon Islands, Vanuatu) – From Solomon Islands and Vanuatu, eleven marketplace managers and decision-makers will travel the region this fortnight exchanging ideas to improve marketplaces for women.
The first full day of the knowledge sharing and capacity building mission, known as a South-South Exchange, begins today. Five delegates from Vanuatu market management, local government and councils have just arrived in Honiara to meet their Solomon Islands counterparts, including those from Honiara City Council and Malaita Provincial Government.
The exchange will then reverse, with the Solomon Islands representatives visiting Vanuatu.
UN Women Fiji Multi-Country Office (MCO) Deputy Representative, Nicolas Burniat, explained that the valuable exchange of ideas is part of UN Women’s Markets for Change (M4C) project, supported by the Australian Government.
“The exchange is an opportunity for market management and key local government decision-makers involved in Markets for Change in Vanuatu and Solomon Islands, to share knowledge and build capacity on: gender responsive budget consultation; waste management strategies; vendor registration; inclusive space allocation; and promotion of gender sensitive policy and procedure,” said Mr Burniat.
Over the five days in Auki and Honiara, from 23 to 27 January, delegates will: visit bustling Solomon Islands’ markets; meet local government and market management staff of Honiara City Council and the Malaita Provincial Government; and learn the strategies and systems helping to advance gender equality in Solomon Islands’ marketplaces.
“It’s a privilege to be learning from the Solomon Islands councils and markets,” said Philip Sawon, Acting Town Clerk of Luganville Municipal Council, Vanuatu.
“We also have a lot to offer to our counterparts from Auki and Honiara, and hope they can take home something learned from Luganville Municipality and market from this exchange,” said Mr. Sawon.
Four delegates from Honiara City Council and Malaita Provincial Government, Solomon Islands, will then head to Vanuatu from 29 January to 2 February to share lessons learned with stakeholders involved in M4C supported marketplaces in Port Vila, Luganville and Efate.
“I want to learn more about waste management strategies used in markets in Vanuatu and to be able to return and apply the same system at the Honiara Central Market,” said Jimmy Riunga, Market Manager at Honiara Central Market.
The idea for the South-South Exchange resulted from the 2016 Markets for Change Regional Stakeholder Forum held in Nadi, attended by representatives from all three M4C countries.“The exchange promises to be a great start for 2018, building on a highly successful 2017 for the Markets for Change project that works with over 6,500 women in 18 markets across three countries,” said Mr Burniat.
“I hope that through this exchange we all learn new ideas for further improving marketplaces for women,” he said.
UN Women’s Markets for Change (M4C) project is a six-year, multi-country initiative that aims to ensure marketplaces in rural and urban areas of Fiji, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu are safe, inclusive and non-discriminatory, promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment. A UN Women project, M4C is principally funded by the Australian Government, and implemented in partnership with UNDP.