The UN Development Programme Solomon Islands, under the Outstanding Women initiative, has launched a series of dialogues to discuss community priority issues, including womenâs empowerment and social inclusion, climate change and environment.
On May 18, about 80 community members including local leaders, church representatives, and educators participated in the first dialogue which centered around people with disability rights and how to enhance social inclusiveness. It also looked at how they would benefit from their active participation.
Reflecting on the articles of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the panelists and audience debated on the significance of enhancing the participation of people with disabilities in community institutions and advocated for the ratification of the Convention.
The topic was analyzed by a panel comprised of Choiseul Provincial Government representatives from the Health Department, the Womenâs Development Division and the administration. Other panelists included a Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) female officer, a Save the Children volunteer and the President of the Provincial Council of Women.
The discussion was facilitated Florence Vasaro, elected in 2020 as the Outstanding Woman for Choiseul Province.
Mrs Vasaro stated the importance of valuing and respecting people with disabilities and how communities will benefit from their positive contributions and their leadership values.
âOverall, people with disabilities, including women, continue to face multiple discrimination and significant barriers to equal political participation.
âA community dialogue like this, helps us to go deeper into these issues and evaluate what gaps and challenges have to be addressed.â
The dialogue provided an opportunity to learn about the community-based rehabilitation programme, to stress the importance of access to education for all and to discuss how to respect and protect the rights of people with disabilities.
Vasaro noted, âPeople with disabilities and other vulnerable groups must enjoy their right to participate in decisions which directly impact their livelihoods and, most importantly, their future.
âWe appreciate UNDPâs support, to make sure that everyone is involved in this conversation.â
This community dialogue was organised by the Outstanding Women (OW) of Solomon Islands in collaboration with the Choiseul Provincial Government and the Provincial Council of Women.
The OW is an initiative of the Strengthening the Electoral Cycle in Solomon Islands Project (SECSIP). SECSIP is implemented by UNDP Solomon Islands and has received financial assistance of the Australian Government, the European Union and UNDP.