Considering gender: Practical guidance for rural development initiatives in Solomon Islands

Kate Doyle
Philippa J. Cohen
Hampus Eriksson
Helen Teioli
Agnetha Vavekaramui
Elsie Wickham
Rosalie Masu
Ronnelle Panda
Cynthia McDougall

The majority of Solomon Islanders live in rural communities and are dependent on natural resources for their livelihoods. For many people, ways of generating income or producing food outside of small-scale fishing and agriculture are limited. Many development actors (e.g. government agencies and nongovernmental organizations) work with people in rural communities to develop and improve livelihoods, food security and environmental sustainability. However, development initiatives are often challenged to improve the lives of all people due to the presence of gender inequalities, which limit the abilities of certain individuals, mainly women (but also youth, and in some situations men), to participate in and benefit from development opportunities. This challenge has been recognized at the national level in Solomon Islands, and an increasing number of development actors now wish to consider gender throughout their initiatives. However, many feel overwhelmed or confused about how to plan and implement initiatives that seek to reduce gender inequality to maximize the benefits that development initiatives bring for everyone.

This resource draws together the knowledge of over 60 Solomon Islands
development practitioners who shared their years of experience during two workshops. We combined these insights with findings from a WorldFish study to help illustrate how development initiatives can:
• identify and understand gender considerations for Solomon Islands contexts, including the gender roles, norms and relations that contribute to gender inequality;
• acknowledge and account for gender inequalities within development activities conducted with rural communities;
• actively effect change to reduce gender inequalities by addressing their underlying causes.
This is referred to as a gender-transformative approach, where development actors and communities closely work together to identify, examine, question and attempt to shift, in locally appropriate ways, harmful or inequitable gender norms and power imbalances between women and men.

Research Type(s)
Report – Not peer reviewed
Submitted by Sarah Lawless
June 18, 2021
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