THE 2017-2018 secondary school poster and essay competition on women’s leadership and political participation successfully ends with a prize-giving ceremony yesterday afternoon at an award ceremony held at the Art Gallery.
After taking the top places in the women’s leadership and political participation general essay and poster competition 27 students and teachers from various schools throughout the country received prizes ranging from laptops to school stationeries and t-shirts.
The competition was created to engage students and their teachers to reflect and share their views on issues in connection with gender equality in the schools, their recommendations to promote gender awareness and their views on temporary special measures.
It aimed to raise awareness on the problem, and anti-corruption measures and initiatives being undertaken.
In his keynote address at the award ceremony, Mr George Palua, PS Home Affairs said the country’s young people are vital to the fight against corruption.
“It is my sincere hope that you will manifest the messages that you have conveyed on your posters and in your essays,” he said.
The competition has attracted increased participation of 170 posters and essay entries from 31 schools throughout the country, a dramatic increase compared from the 41 entries that competed in the 2016 competition.
The secondary school poster and essay competition were categorised under three categories; junior category was for forms one to three students, senior category for forms four to seven and teachers’ category, which is the divided into two components that is a poster competition for artists and an essay competition for writers both male and females.
Competing on the key elements to achieving gender equality in schools in Solomon Islands the junior category was to answer either through an artwork/poster or an essay while the senior category Identify barriers that make it difficult for women to be in parliament, provincial assemblies and other senior government offices as well suggest possible solutions to increase women’s leadership and political participation.
In the teachers’ category they were asked to discuss key factors to consider successfully implementing the Temporary Special Measures (TSM) or discussing if the school curriculum is promoting the importance of increasing women representation in parliament, provincial assemblies and in senior government offices.
The poster and essay entries were marked by various professionals from the media, SINU, MWYCA, MEHRD, SI artists association, CSO and some teachers.
There are numerous obstacles to women’s political participation and representation in all societies, including in the Solomon Islands.
History, institutional design, and cultural barriers such as deeply rooted traditional gender roles, all have roles in limiting the access of women to appointed and elected government positions. As an initiative to start addressing these barriers and facilitate engagement and discussion amongst the next generation of policy makers, youth and children, as well their teachers and parents, SIEC in partnership with the Ministry of Education and Human Resource and Development initiated and rolled out this initiative in 2016.
The Competitions (2016 and 2017-2018) have been supported by UNDP through the Strengthening the Electoral Cycle Project of Solomon Islands (SECSIP II). SECSIP II is implemented by UNDP in partnership with the Solomon Islands Electoral Commission (SIEC). It receives financial support from UNDP, the European Union and the Government of Australia.