Real change coming for Gizo Market

Date: Thursday, April 26, 2018

Real change coming for Gizo Market

[Joint Press Release]

Solomon Islands — Celebrations are underway today at the official ground-breaking ceremony for a new Gizo Market facility.

Photo: UN Women
Existing Gizo market facility that will be redeveloped. Photo: UNWomen/Sandra Bernklau

Following a request from the Western Provincial Government, Australia has committed approximately AUD3 million to redevelop the existing Gizo town market facility. The new market will be designed and built by Reeves International and will improve the market’s amenities for its vendors, residents and visiting tourists. It will be built to withstand a category 5 cyclone, will significantly increase the number of market stalls, and will provide improved water and sanitation, and lighting. As construction of this major project is on-going, the Gizo market vendors have been relocated to a temporary market site at the MSG building.

The project complements Australia’s growing portfolio of investments in economic growth across Solomon Islands. In addition to upgrading the market facility, the Australian Government partnered with UN Women to extend the Markets for Change (M4C) project to Gizo. This has allowed market vendors to voice their opinion in the design of the new market to ensure it meets their needs, and to help facilitate a smooth transition to the temporary market, and on return to the new market.

“The redevelopment of Gizo Market is a clear example of Australia’s commitment to development in the provinces. It is the first time the Australian Government has partnered directly with a provincial government to implement a project. We expect it will deliver tangible benefits for Gizo residents, visiting tourists and, market vendors – the majority of whom are women,” said Australian High Commissioner to Solomon Islands, Roderick Brazier.

“I would like to thank the Australian Government on behalf of the people of Western Province for this partnership and support towards the Gizo Market Redevelopment. The completion of the Gizo market building will contribute immensely to tourism and economic activities in the Province benefiting market vendors, most of whom are women, and the rural population in general,” Honorable Premier of Western Province, Wyne Maepio.

The Markets for Change project expansion to Gizo ensures market vendors, management and others involved in the Gizo market are being consulted to provide guidance and ideas for both the temporary relocation, and the new market facility. The M4C project will continue supporting the Western Provincial Government and market vendors after the new market is complete.

Alongside the ground-breaking ceremony, there will be the official launch of the Gizo Market Vendors’ Association, supported by the M4C project. Support for this new association is in recognition of the key role that market vendors have in supporting markets and the local economy and is part of the Australian Government and UN Women’s increasing commitment to women’s economic empowerment in Solomon Islands.

“Continued engagement of women, who are the majority of market vendors, in the design process and incorporating their recommendations for the improvement and long-term resilience of their workplace, has been incredibly valuable to this project,” said UN Women Fiji Multi-Country Office Representative a.i., Nicolas Burniat.

The new Gizo Market Vendors Association (MVA) will be celebrated alongside the ground-breaking following their recent formation and registration. The association aims to provide a forum where market vendors can support each other, raise concerns and work in partnership with local authorities. Between 75-90 per cent of vendors working at Pacific marketplaces are women and their earnings often make up a significant portion of the incomes of many poor households. Despite this, women are often excluded from market governance and decision-making.

“This is the first time for us to have our own Market Vendor Association and we are proud of it and will use this forum to ensure our members get their voices heard at the government level,” said Lauretta Nasala, President of the new Gizo MVA.

“I would like to thank the Western Provincial Government, Gizo town Council, market vendors, Australian Government and UN Women’s M4C project for supporting the development of this association,” she said.

Speaking on behalf on UN Women during the Launch, UN Women Solomon Islands Country Programme Coordinator, Alvina Erekali congratulated the new Gizo Market Vendors Association.

“I would like to congratulate the market vendors and market management who have worked tirelessly to establish this new MVA for Gizo; it’s a truly historic day,” said Erekali.

She added that, “UN Women M4C’s supported the establishment and formal registration of the new Gizo MVA to ensure participation of market vendors in shaping the temporary market relocation plans as well as the reconstruction plan. The organising of vendors is critical as it helps to promote women’s voices to ensure they benefit from the economic opportunities arising from the market’s reconstruction, and from a clean, safe and healthy working environment.”

UN Women’s M4C project is a six-year, multi-country initiative that aims to ensure marketplaces in rural and urban areas of Fiji, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu are safe, inclusive and non-discriminatory, promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment. A UN Women project, M4C is principally funded by the Australian Government, and implemented in partnership with UNDP.

Media enquiries should be directed to:

Sharon Tohaimae
Communications and Monitoring and Evaluation Officer, Markets for Change
UN Women, Phone: (+677) 22463
Email: sharon.tohaimae@unwomen.org

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

UN Women’s Markets for Change (M4C) project is a six-year, multi-country initiative that aims to ensure marketplaces in rural and urban areas of Fiji, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu are safe, inclusive and non-discriminatory, promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment. A UN Women project, M4C is principally funded by the Australian Government, and implemented in partnership with UNDP.

M4C is the flagship project within the UN Women’s programme for Women’s Economic Empowerment in the Pacific region. Between 75-90 per cent of vendors working at Pacific marketplaces are women and their earnings often make up a significant portion of the incomes of many poor households. Despite this, women are often excluded from market governance and decision-making. M4C works with stakeholders, service providers and the market vendors themselves to: build and support inclusive, effective and representative advocacy groups; deliver appropriate services, training and interventions; ensure women’s voices are heard and taken into account at the decision-making level; and to improve physical infrastructure and operating systems.

For further information please visit:

asiapacific.unwomen.org/en/countries/fiji
www.facebook.com/unwomenpacific
www.twitter.com/unwomenpacific