THE Ministry of Development Planning and Aid Coordination (MDPAC) in partnership with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) recently held a Population and Development workshop in Munda, Western Province.
A total of 18 provincial participants who attended the 3 day workshop from 11-13 October mainly work as provincial government officers, head teachers of schools in and around Munda, youth and women representatives, and community leaders.
In her opening remarks on behalf of the MDPAC team, Ms. Lyn Vaike said the workshop is a key activity under the MDPAC Social Sector Division to encourage the Provincial Planners and other Senior Staff from the Province in mainstreaming critical population issues in all the Provincial Planning and Decision Making Process.
She highlighted the importance of available data utilization in planning and decision making at all levels of the society – from the lowest village, community, provincial to the highest national levels.
“The Ministry with the financial support from UNFPA and Solomon Islands Government has completed workshops in 9 Provincial headquarters except for Rennell/Bellona Province. Now, through the recommendation from provincial headquarters to conduct the similar workshop at Provincial Sub-Stations, the first Sub-station the team recently visited was Marau Sub-Station, and now Munda Sub-station.”
Ms. Noelyn Biliki, the workshop facilitator added that the area of Population and Development needs to be urgently strengthened at the provincial planning and policy levels. “The knowledge and capacity of provincial planners and other government workers needs enhancement and strengthening,” she said.
“The Ministry is confident that by the end of the workshop you the participants are well equipped with the knowledge and understanding of how to use the available data in your provincial planning and policy formulation. We hope that you will be able to use the data to make population projections and plan for your future and the future of the generations to come.”
The population of Solomon Islands will continue to grow and using population data is important so as to minimize the stress we exert on our environment, resources, and basic services like health and education and so on,” Ms. Biliki said
Speaking on behalf of the participants, Administration Officer for Munda Sub-Station, Western Provincial Government, Mr. Judah Suluburi conveyed much appreciation to the ministry team saying the workshop has built the capacity of the participants in terms of using available population data like the 2009 Solomon Islands National Census Data, among others for planning and decision making in their respective areas of work.
“We are so grateful that the ministry has seen it fit to bring the workshop to Munda. We have learnt a lot from the team and can now be able to use available population data when it comes to planning for our families, communities and the province as a whole,” said Mr. Suluburi
Whilst the workshop brought into light some very important population issues that needs to be addressed at the provincial as well at the national level, 3 population related issues with action plans the participants presented to the team includes, the need to address issues like Non- Communicable Diseases, Land Disputes, and Anti-social behaviors relating to the rate of alcohol consumption.
Another recommendation highlighted by all the participants was the need to take the workshop to the higher level decision makers especially targeting members of the Western Provincial Assembly and Constituency Development Officers (CDOs).
The Ministry of Development Planning would like to thank the Munda Sub-Station Management and Administration for responding to the ministry’s invitation and thanked all the participants for a very successful workshop.