Women grow village savings into national superannuation contributions
April 21 2017- Compared to most islands in the Solomon Islands that have vast natural resources, Simbo does not have much and that is one of the main reasons the members of the Madegugusu Women’s Association (MWA) have been working hard over the past five years according to MWA President- Inda Kipling.
The MWA is a member of the PLP supported ‘Simbo for Change Women’s Economic Empowerment Initiative with development entrepreneur on Simbo Island- Esther Suti and the Samoa Women in Business Development Incorporated (WIBDI). It aims to advance women’s economic empowerment and, in the process, address issues of gender roles and family safety on Simbo.
‘We need government’s recognition and support for what we do, so we have cleaned the island, encouraged our members to join savings clubs so that Simbo can be an example to other islands in the Solomons,” Inda explained.
The MWA is made up of four sub committees- one for each village on Simbo, Lengana, Tapurai, Riguru and Nusa Simbo. The committees organise activities at village level and one day a week, all members work on a MWA activity. These activities include communal clean ups, village beautification, making handicrafts and sharing knowledge on beekeeping and savings club activities.
Their efforts have not gone unnoticed, “Our Member of Parliament Hon. Charles Sigoto has given us funds that we decided to lend to the village subcommittee for savings clubs activities, repayments are made with a ten percent interest rate,” Inda explained.
Hon. Sigoto the Member of Parliament for Ranonga-Simbo said Simbo is the model island in terms of the changes happening there and he hopes to replicate what they have done in other islands.
He praised the MWA executive committee for organising their members to join the National Provident Fund, “That is a breakthrough, no one else in my constituency is doing that, let alone from rural areas. This was made possible through the work of the MWA,” said Hon. Sigoto.
MWA members recently joined the Provident Fund and contributed part of their savings to the Fund, ” I think it is a good idea and it will really help them save,” Hon Sigoto added.
According to Inda being a legally registered entity has helped the MWA join the National Provident Fund among other things, “We have a plan and work program which we submitted to the national government. The Provincial Government gave us when they heard about our environment care program, the money was used for that purpose.”
Inda acknowledged the support from the Madegugusu chiefs, men and youth of Simbo for the success of the Simbo for Change Initiative, “They have been very helpful with our activities and it has brought unity in the community and that is how we can keep the program going.”