Markets for Change continues COVID-19 response work
Date: Wednesday, March 10, 2021
Honiara, Solomon Islands - In consultation with market vendors and relevant authorities, the Markets for Change (M4C) project provided WASH (water, sanitation, and hygiene) materials to support the COVID-19 response work in Honiara, Auki, and Gizo markets.
This week marks the end of distribution in all three markets - Auki, Gizo and Honiara. Items provided to the markets include commercial surface disinfectants, masks, gloves, hand sanitizers and dispensers, buckets, water tanks, brooms, garden hoses and accessories, sink basins and accessories, and portable public announcement (PA) systems.
“The Western Province Government appreciates very much all the support from Markets for Change to date,” Moffat Maeta, the Market Manager said. “You have certainly made a lot of impact in so far as our vendors especially the women market vendors are concerned. These are kind of investments that we must celebrate, because it touches the lives of ordinary people, and we see the impact it has on them and their families.”
Solomon Islands markets are essential sources of economic livelihoods for hundreds of households. A June 2020 survey of market vendors by M4C indicates that COVID-19 has led to uncertainty and is affecting vendors’ incomes, with more than 90 per cent reporting a significant reduction in income. The WASH materials were procured with direct support from the UN COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund (MPTF).
Maureen Sariki, the Honiara Market Vendors Association chair said the impact of COVID-19 has manifested itself in various ways including unpurchased produce, food wastage and loss of income which has inevitably affected rural women’s financial capability to provide for their families. “A lot of women have lost their jobs as well and are resorting to selling produce to feed their families which reinforces the importance of keeping the markets open, clean and safe for women to continue to earn an income in an enabling space,” Ms Sariki said.
“Markets are essential to the livelihoods of many households in Pacific countries where the vast majority of market vendors are women. M4C’s work is intersectional and addresses key women’s human rights including their right to a livelihood and good health. WASH materials will protect both vendors and members of the public who use the market space,” said Sandra Bernklau, the UN Women Fiji Multi-Country Office Representative. “The support of WASH materials will ensure the market is kept clean, safe and is an enabling environment for rural women and market vendors to continue to earn an income despite the uncertainties around the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The M4C project brings together governments, market vendors and market vendor associations, civil society organizations and UN agencies to promote gender equality through the economic empowerment of women market vendors in Fiji, Samoa, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu. M4C is implemented by UN Women in partnership with UNDP and the Governments of Australia, Canada and New Zealand. Funding from the UN COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund has helped to amplify the impact of Markets for Change in supporting the market spaces to be safe places, and to support food security.
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