Robert Kipling- seeing profound changes on Simbo.

April 24 2017- Robert Kipling is the husband of the Madegugusu Women’s Association (MWA) President- Inda Kipling. He has been involved in the Simbo for Change Initiative since it was established and more so when Inda took office in 2016.

“Ever since my wife got involved and took up leadership a year ago, I have supported her as she organises the women, plans their activities, she has became a leader in our village,” Kippy explained. Inda and Kippy live on Nusa Simbo an islet separated from Simbo by a lagoon.

The MWA is one of Pacific Leadership Program’s partners in the Simbo for Change Women’s Economic Empowerment Initiative, the other partners are development entrepreneur- Esther Suti who is from Simbo and the Samoa Women in Business Development Incorporated (WIBDI). Simbo for Change aims to advance women’s economic empowerment and, in the process, address issues of gender roles and family safety on Simbo. WIBDI provides technical expertise and training in organic certification, product development and market access, while PLP provides a range of interventions including support for coalition building, action research and facilitation of learning exchanges to build networks and skills.

The Association is instrumental in organising women’s participation in income generation, savings clubs in the four villages on Simbo. The savings club concept has been very successful, resulting in women being able to save and look after their families and more recently making regular contributions to the National Provident Fund.

Working with the Madegugusu Council of Chiefs, men and youth of Simbo, the MWA led a cleanup campaign around the island, clearing rubbish accumulated over the years, sorting them and disposing them in rubbish pits. Simbo has become a model of sorts in the Western Province in terms of waste management.

Kippy as he better known said the changes on Simbo in the past five years are more noticeable than changes in the past 30 years, “Simbo today is different, women are empowered, they are earning money, they organised savings club, they lead the clean up around the island. I see Simbo advancing and there is a bright future for women and the children as well.”

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Women grow village savings into superannuation contributions