Taiwanese direct aid to rural communities

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DEAR EDITOR, last week the Island Sun featured a letter that I had written giving details of the work done by the Aaliua Taiwan Technical Mission in giving practical farming advice to several women from the area near to the Mission.

I wrote the story because it seemed to exemplify the kind of ‘hands on’ help so much needed by people in the rural communities to promote self-reliance and to raise the standard of living of those still having to depend on subsistence farming methods for a living.

I would encourage the ROC government to do more to help the rural poor and I believe the Taiwanese government funded International Cooperation and Development Fund (CDF) could be best utilized to directly improve the living conditions of the communities.

I have in mind the way in which Taiwan provided several mini-grid solar photovoltaic (PV) systems and lighting appliances to several communities in rural Myanmar last year to improve rural electrification needs.

I recall, also, in 2015 the ROC released funds for 15 rural community projects in the Solomon Islands worth SB$7.7.

The projects had been submitted by the people in rural communities and were approved by the ROC Government.

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I recall the projects ranged from small business development, transportation, livestock, tourism, fisheries and solar energy.

The Taiwanese Ambassador in 2015 said the funding was extra aid to assist rural communities and was not part of the budget set aside for the Rural Support Community Development (RSCD) Fund.

The additional money, the Ambassador commented, was to support the Solomon Islands Government to implement its rural policy to enhance rural advancement.

It would be interesting to know how those projects developed since 2015 and to what extent the ROC kept in touch and helped in nurturing those small-scale ventures.

Yours sincerely

FRANK SHORT

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