UN Women Markets for Change project expands to Gizo Western Province

Date: Thursday, October 12, 2017

[Press Release]

Solomon Islands — UN Women and the Australian Government are increasing their commitment to women’s economic empowerment in Solomon Islands, by expanding the Markets for Change project to Gizo, Western Province. Markets for Change (M4C) 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 economic empowerment.

Australia’s Acting High Commissioner to Solomon Islands, Michael Hassett (left) and UN Women Deputy Executive Director, Yannick Glemarec (right) sign an amendment to the Markets for Change Cost-Sharing Agreement worth approximately AUD 1 million. Photo credit: UN Women/Caitlin Clifford

UN Women’s Deputy Executive Director for Policy and Programme, Yannick Glemarec, and Australia's Acting High Commissioner to Solomon Islands, Michael Hassett, signed an amendment to the Markets for Change Cost-Sharing Agreement today worth approximately AUD $1 million. Markets for Change is principally funded by the Australian Government, and implemented in partnership with UNDP.

“Markets for Change is a unique programme globally as it addresses many of the inter-related and complex barriers women face to advance economically in a synergistic manner,” said UN Women’s Deputy Executive Director Mr Yannick Glemarec.

Moreen Sariki, President of the Honiara Market Vendors Association in Solomon Islands speaks to UN Women Deputy Executive Director Yannick Glemarec about UN Women’s Markets for Change programme. “Though people see market vendors as ordinary women, their contribution in terms of the money earned and contributed to the economy is very important,” said Ms. Sariki. Photo credit: UN Women/Caitlin Clifford

Mr Glemarec said the expansion reflected M4C’s success in empowering market vendors in Solomon Islands – 75 to 90 per cent of whom are women – through targeted activities such as financial literacy and leadership training, initiating and supporting market vendor associations, working with local government to ensure women participate in decision making, and ensuring market infrastructure incorporates gender responsive designs.

“UN Women is committed to Markets for Change’s bold and ambitious agenda to work with market vendors and local government so women participate in decision making and the management of market spaces leading to better outcomes for women vendors.”

Australia’s Acting High Commissioner, Michael Hassett, said the expansion of the Markets for Change project supports the Western Provincial Government’s commitment to connect, consult and ensure the participation of market vendors and the broader community in the upgrade at the existing Gizo market site, and its temporary relocation.

“The construction of the new market is a critical step towards stimulating increased economic opportunities and tourism in Gizo,” said Mr Hassett.

“We recognise the central role of Markets for Change in promoting women’s voices to ensure women benefit from the economic opportunities arising from the market’s reconstruction, and from a clean, safe and healthy working environment.”

UN Women Fiji Multi-Country Office Representative, Aleta Miller, said the project is key component of UN Women’s regional efforts towards promoting women’s economic empowerment.

“Access to markets is crucial for women’s economic empowerment in the Pacific,” said Ms Miller, “it allows women vendors to transform their circumstances through both increased income and autonomy over finances, as well as greater skills and leadership in their businesses all of which provide immediate benefits to both family and community, with ripple effects for the national economy.”

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 project: UN Women’s Markets for Change (M4C) project is a key component of its Women’s Economic Empowerment programme. M4C 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, Markets for Change is principally funded by the Australian Government.

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