West Guadalcanal communities highlight alcohol as main problem

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By Mike Puia

ISSUES relating to alcohol consumption, violence in the homes and sanitation are reportedly troubling communities in the Savulei ward in West Guadalcanal.

These issues were highlighted during a village forum held at Mangakiki village yesterday.

Representatives of the Guadalcanal provincial government, national government, ombudsman’s office, non-governmental organisations were present during the one-day forum.

The forum was organised by the Solomon Islands Development Trust (SIDT) in partnership with the Guadalcanal provincial government.

Mangakiki women in traditional costumes during the forum welcome ceremony on Wednesday.

People from Mangakiki and nearby communities had the chance to openly share their issues before people and bodies that can offer ways of dealing with them.

The forum is historic for Savulei Ward as it’s the first of its kind in the Ward. SIDT has been staging similar forums in other parts of the country.

The theme of the forum was ‘bridging the gap between people, policymakers and practitioners for positive change’.

Youth and women representatives and elders in communities in Savulei admitted that alcohol is the number one issue that is bringing a lot of issues to their communities.

Provincial and national leaders and representatives of various NGO is led into mangakiki village by women cultural performers

Basilisa Bubu said issues like family violence and threat to women and children in Mangakiki village are a result of alcohol.

Bubu said recently two women were referred to the hospital after being bashed by their partners who are believed to have been under the influence of alcohol.

She said their village don’t want to experience such experience.

The women rep urged authorities to screen alcohol selling in their ward.

A youth representative from Mangakiki, Aaron Waitasi, who talked about social issues in the village confirmed that alcohol is responsible for a lot of issues their community is facing.

Waitasi said these issues range from violence to the absence of respect.

He said logging which is happening in their area also fueling alcohol consumption in their ward.

Group photo of Mangakiki village.

A lot of information were shared about how villagers can access services in response to the impacts alcohol brings.

Guadalcanal province’s deputy premier, Peter Araonisaka, encourages community leaders to take heed of the issues raised and make it their duty to groom their children in the right way.

Araonisaka said the duty to see children in the community raised in the right way is not only a duty of parents but also that of the community.

Deputy premier of Guadalcanal province, Peter Araonisaka.

As for the province, he said issues raised in the forum are concerns their government is very serious about.

He added, they can formulate ordinances to tackle issues raised by Savulei communities but the direction such ordinance should take is something that must come from communities.

Sanitation was another big concern raised during the forum.

Representatives of Live & Learn confirmed they will soon roll out a five-year programme in the Western region of Guadalcanal targeting sanitation and communities that prepare to embrace their program expect to reap some benefits from the project.

SIDT’s Longden Manedika said with information now delivered to them they hope people living in Savulei villages will make good use of what they learn about their governments and non-governmental organisations.

Villagers did presentations outlining their issues in their villages and what are their action plans.

The visiting team from Honiara took questions thrown at them by villagers.

The programme ended with feasting and entertainment.

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