Melanesia (Solomon Islands & Vanuatu)
The Solomon Islands are located in a “ring of fire” — a zone of active volcanoes that makes natural disasters such as earthquakes, cyclones, volcanic eruptions, and flooding a frequent problem. This, along with the threat of global warming and recent recovery from civil conflict, put many communities in the region at risk of hunger, poverty and disaster.
The Solomon Islands and Vanuatu are two nations in a larger Pacific island group called Melanesia. Poverty and the changing climate are key issues, as the local economy is supported largely by remittances from outside the country and the land is threatened by rising sea levels and frequent natural disasters. The islands are also remote and difficult to access.
Episcopal Relief & Development is partnering with the Anglican Church of the Province of Melanesia (ACOM) to reduce disaster risk, promote climate-adaptive agricultural techniques and strengthen the local economy through savings groups and small business development. Our microfinance programs empower women by helping them to establish autonomy and actively participate in decision-making in their households. By supporting women to change their economic situation, we help strengthen entire communities.
ACOM is leading community-based efforts in Vanuatu to improve the environment and local food supply by planting trees to combat erosion and promoting innovative small-scale farming techniques that maximize crop variety and use of available land. Savings with Education (SwE) groups offer opportunities for individuals to build up their savings and access microfinance services for small business development. The groups also discuss and take action on local social issues and disaster risk reduction in their communities.
Episcopal Relief & Development collaborates with the Anglican Board of Mission Australia (ABM), and the Anglican Church of Melanesia (ACM), our local implementing partner in Vanuatu. With the support of these organizations, the program has developed over the years and expanded significantly in 2018.
As part of a three-year strategy (2018 to 2020), the project targets 20 communities with best-practice behaviors focused around improved sanitation such as hand-washing, safe food handling, and the promotion of a clean environment. Additionally, water points are built and improved to ensure 1,070 people in 13 communities have access to clean water. Disaster planning and disaster preparedness trainings are administered in these 13 communities to reduce the hazard of potential future climate events.
Episcopal Relief & Development plans to increase the capacity of 2,480 members to save, access credit and cope with financial shocks through the formation of the community-based savings groups in 50 communities. The program will also increase access of 1620 new and 860 continuing clients and entrepreneurs to capital in the form of microloans in 50 communities. 32 facilitators were mobilized (27 women and 5 men) in 2018 resulting in a total of 32 facilitators. In 2019, ACOM-V builds on these trained facilitators to monitor the original 43 groups and expand the program to form 81 more groups to reach a total of 2,857 members.
Our work with Women focuses on helping communities promote the rights of women and children and move toward the vision that everyone deserves a life free from violence in a society where they are treated with dignity and respect. Only then can communities truly heal and thrive.
Our work with Children supports and protects kids under six so they reach appropriate health and developmental milestones. This focus on early development is foundational and critical to helping children achieve their full potential as future contributing members of their communities.
Our Climate-related work focuses on how families and communities can work together to adapt to the effects of rapidly changing weather patterns. This work includes preparing for and recovering from climate-influenced events such as floods, hurricanes and other disasters.
Almost one billion people are affected by chronic hunger and poverty worldwide. Malnutrition or lack of access to food can jeopardize overall productivity, health and well-being. Read more about Agriculture.Read more about Agriculture
Planning ahead for disasters can go far in minimizing their potential impact – especially for people already facing poverty, who may lose their few assets or safety nets. To this end, Episcopal Relief & Development is partnering with the Episcopal/Anglican Church to better prepare for and respond to disasters. Read more about Disaster Risk Reduction.Read more about Disaster Risk Reduction
Our micro-finance programs emphasize involving both women and men, which can be very effective in promoting gender awareness and empowering women. When women become breadwinners, they increase their role in household decision-making, which often enhances the whole family’s well-being. Read more about Micro-finance.Read more about Micro-finance
Gender equality, women’s empowerment and gender-based violence (GBV) prevention and response are cross-cutting themes that shape and inform all of Episcopal Relief & Development’s integrated programs worldwide. In order to sustainably and equitably address hunger, poverty, disease and post-disaster relief and recovery, local attitudes and customs around gender, power and gender-based violence must also be taken into account.Read more about Gender Equality & GBV