More than twenty mothers and girls from Ward five of West Makira have gained knowledge in soil improvement to sustain their families’ food security in efforts to withstand the effects of climate change.
Organized by an all women led NGO in Honiara, the Matavale women’s Association, a three day training and demonstration took was conducted on Anuta Island, West Makira Constituency from the 22nd to the 24th of June 2022.
The training had indoor lessons and outdoor practical and demonstrations and was held after a team from the organization carried scoping work in early June where more than 20 villages were visited.
A trainer from Kastom Gaden Association, Esther Lodu conducted the training with Matavale Women’s Association officers.
Speaking at the training, Ms Lodu said, as bread winners of many families, women need to be prepared to face negative effects of climate change on agriculture and food security because of extreme weather conditions which may result in poor crop yields through too much rain, drought and other natural disasters.
She said the effects of climate change not only cause sea level rise but other issues not seen before such as frequent and sever cyclones, increased incidences of diseases and very low crop yields.
She said, if we are not prepared to adapt to changing weather conditions, our families will face a lot of difficulties, one of which is poor crop yields, that we are not able to feed our families therefore conducting trainings like this are very important.
She said, what Matavale Women’s Association is trying to achieve is to enable families feed their families with nutritious local food in the face of mounting negative effects of climate change, one of which is food security.
During the training, women were given classroom lessons and the majority of time in outdoor practical and demonstrations on methods to improve soil quality, crop nursery and nurturing, seed packaging and biological pest control measures which women can use in their local settings.
Matavale Women’s Association representative at the training, Ellen Paieke said participants have welcomed the training as an eye opener and the first of its kind to be held for women in the area.
“This training is to empower you participants to produce nutritious food which you can give to your families or to sell to earn some money to meet basic household needs”, Mrs Paieke said.
Anuta Community representative, Timothy Unga said the community and its people really appreciated the initiative by the Matavale Women’s Association as it will help families grow enough food to feed their families.
“We have seen a decline in crop yield over the years and with the training, I’m very hopeful we can reverse the trend” Mr Unga said.
A women’s leader from Oneibia village, Eunice Hoben described the training and associated demonstrations as an eye opener and women have found it to be very helpful and meaningful to them.
She said the training was the first of its kind to be held in the area as previous trainings were mainly on faith-based activities.
“This is the first training women in the are part of and we are very grateful to the Matavale Women’s Association for seeing it fit to come down this far to help us. We have learnt a lot and I’m very hopeful what the women received from the training will be applied in their own gardens” Mrs Hoben said.
The women’s groups were provided with gardening tools and seedlings after the training to start their fruit and vegetable gardens.
Matavale Women’s Association will hold other food security oriented trainings and demonstration in the coming months for communities and women’s groups in West Makira.
The current training for ward five and six was made available through UNDP’s Global Environment Fund and following on under UNWomen Peace and Humanitarian Fund for Wards 5 to 8 in the West Makira Constituency.
Matavale Women’s Association is very appreciative of GEF for making it possible for the group to reach out to vulnerable groups in the rural communities of Solomon Islands which it will try its best to achieve in the longer term.