Peter Lakale, the village chief of Valecho. Photo: Lara McKinley/OxfamAUS

Solomon Islands

The Solomons are a scattering of postcard islands amid a turquoise sea. But their beauty belies a harsh reality: political instability, a struggling economy and ongoing disputes over the use of the country’s natural resources.

We’re working with Solomon Islanders to build a sustainable economy, healthy communities and a brighter future for the next generation.

Training young people

The Solomon Islands has a young population – more than half the population is under 28 – and most live in rural areas. We’re helping young people gain leadership skills through Oxfam International Youth Partnerships (OIYP), a global network of 18-25 year olds working for positive change in their communities. As OIYP’s Tomos Penelope Opaka says, “If we’re going to bring changes in our village, country and the world, we have to stand up and act.”

Addressing domestic violence

It’s estimated that at least 64% of women are suffering from domestic violence in the Solomon Islands. We’re helping the Family Support Centre to provide counselling and legal assistance to these women and to run programs which challenge the beliefs perpetuating gender-based violence.

Tackling HIV and AIDS

Although HIV and AIDS infection rates are low, the Solomon Islands has the ingredients for an epidemic: poverty, the prevalence of sexually transmitted inflections and limited counselling and testing services.

We’re taking a leading role in the Pacific Regional HIV Project to support initiatives that target women’s and young people’s vulnerability to HIV and to push for legislative and policy change.

Partnering with the Pacific

The Solomon Islands is confronted with a series of trade negotiations over the next few years within the WTO and with the European Union, and Australia and New Zealand. Our blueprint for Australia’s new engagement with Pacific nations (PDF, 554KB) calls for Australia to support development that taps into the aspirations and knowledge of local communities.

Responding to emergencies

Solomon Islanders are feeling the effects of climate change through the increasing severity and frequency of natural disasters. When the devastating tsunami hit the Solomons in 2007 we responded immediately, providing emergency shelter, water and sanitation. We’re now equipping communities to prepare for future disasters.

On 4 January 2010 two large earthquakes struck the Western Province of the Solomon Islands – find out more about Oxfam’s response.

Fast facts

Population:
566,842 (July 2007 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
73.16 years
Adult literacy rate:
76.6%
Infant mortality rate:
19.97/1,000 live births

Source: UNDP and the CIA World Factbook

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