BY LORETTA BRIGIDIA MANELE
MINISTRY of Provincial Government and Institutional Strengthening’s (MPGIS) Community Grievances and Management Project (CGGMP) through the Makira Ulawa provincial government (MUPG) donated bicycles and mobile phones to Makira village peace wardens (VPW) on May 19 at Kira Kira.
This is according to MPGIS’s press release statement which said that 20 bicycles and 19 mobile phones were presented by CGGMP’s Management, Information Management and Project Officer Mr Clinton Zinihite to the Provincial Secretary for Makira Ulawa province (MUP), Mr. James Taeburi and MUP Provincial Police Commander Mr Peter Sitai in the presence of the project’s provincial coordinator, Ms Daisy Zazariao, the VPWs and a number of provincial staff.
Zinihite expressed that as transportation and communication have been identified as the two most pressing challenges, now provided with these equipment, VPWs will carry out their duties more efficiently and effectively thus enhance connectivity and access to rural villages.
He said that they hope these tools will help spread knowledge, build relationships and improve governance and grievances resolutions in the communities.
“When the VPWs perform on time and to the expectation of the communities consistently, then this will instill confidence and trust in the communities,” said Zinihite.
Taeburi in support of Zinihite’s statement urged the village peace wardens (VPWs) to exercise proper care when using the equipment.
On behalf of the VPWs, Mr Danny Danegu who is the VPW for Kokana expressed that this was a moment they have been waiting for and are so thankful that it has finally arrived.
MPGIS emphasised that VPWs needed the bicycles so they can travel and reach more villages especially villages that can’t be covered when walking.
“The mobile phones are also just as important as transportation as the VPWs needed to use the communication equipment for passing messages not only amongst themselves but to their village counterparts and Police in Kira Kira,” said the press statement.
The VPWs as stated are in their roles expected to support the chiefs and existing community governance system to help resolve conflicts and maintain peace in the community.
They are as well expected to build relationships and build better linkages between the communities, the provincial government, police, national government and relevant stakeholders, working in partnership to uphold peace in the community.
The report stressed that the development objective of the Community Grievances and Management Project (CGGMP) is to strengthen community grievance management capabilities and boost the effectiveness of linkages with the government in targeted communities.
In addition, MPGIS administers CGGMP and supports the VPWs, COs and CLOs by providing training, equipment and linking them with national ministries.
The respective Provincial Governments that host the CGGMP recruit remunerate and deal with any issues of the Operative Field Officers and in this case, it is the village peace wardens of Makira Ulawa province.
Moreover, this project as said by MPGIS was piloted in Makira and Rennell and Bellona provinces since 2015 and is still underway in these two provinces.
By 2017, the Community Grievances and Management project extended to Malaita province for work on the recruitment of 15 officers to become Community Liaison Officers (CLOs), a process that is still progressing.
The latest province expected to benefit from this projects in the third quarter of 2018 is Central Islands province.
Furthermore, MPGIS highlighted the importance of the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIP) in supporting CGGMP Operative Field Officers which include VPWs, COs and CLOs.
RSIP through the office of the respective Provincial Police Commanders provides support for the officers by offering stand by support to help them handle any serious cases should it be violent or law breaking and are also there to assist them in preventing crime by engaging in activities such as conducting crime prevention and grievances awareness during community activities.
Henceforth, reports produced by VPWs, COs or CLOs to provincial police are important sources of information and collaboration.
“CGGMP is funded by the World Bank and the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. The Solomon Islands Government support the CGGMP. Together, through MPGIS, RSIPF, and the Provincial Governments, the public is urged to support the CGGMP’s Operative Field Officers (VPWs, COs, CLOs) to work with communities to resolve grievances and conflicts,” said the press statement.