Leadership roles in communities in the Solomon Islands are often dominated by men, and this has often extended to WASH committees. But through training provided by Live & Learn and the NTNT project, the community of Tamami has empowered women and seen subsequent improvements in WASH services.
Because of his interest in WASH, Tamami’s chief, Philip Sili, supported the NTNT team’s advocacy of women in leadership roles, and there is now a stronger WASH committee, led by one of the women in the community.
The committee had previously struggled with implementing WASH improvement, but with new goals, including wider participation of the community, WASH services are progressing, including the priority of eliminating open defecation in the community.
Making change in communities such as Tamami is sometimes difficult, especially regarding leadership. But, says the chief, ‘We are not living in the past, our lives must change today.’ Due to the training provided by the NTNT project, attitudes in the community have changed, and there have been other benefits as well.
Women have told the team that they feel more confident to speak, men feel more confident about the abilities of women, and there has been more sharing of household chores, to enable women to participate in the WASH committee. On top of the benefits of having both men and women on the committee, the village is providing an example of positive change to nearby communities.
The New Times New Targets (NTNT) project is an Australian aid initiative implemented by Plan International Australia in partnership with Live & Learn Environmental Education on behalf of the Australian Government through the Water for Women Fund.