RSDP Rollout Starts
…as MRD signed off initial 3 million under PRC’s new US$10m partnership program for two community projects
It’s the dawn of a new era for rural development in Solomon Islands as the Ministry of Rural Development (MRD) begun the implementation of its new “Rural Sustainable Development Program” (RSDP) with the signing off of funding agreements worth SBD$3 million for two rural community projects yesterday (Tuesday 5 December 2023).
The two communities are; Tawanaora community in East Are’are Constituency in Malaita Province for the building of its School Classroom and Water Supply and Ablution project at the cost of SBD$1.5 million and Matekolukolu Community, Birao Ward, Kopiu Bay in East Guadalcanal Constituency (EGC) for the development of their economic growth centre complex (double storey 95m long) which will house their constituency office, shopping centre, and a meeting venue for the four wards and communities in EGC, and other uses.
This was made possible under RSDP, a newly established donor partnership program between the Solomon Islands Government (SIG) through MRD and the Government of the Peoples Republic of China (PRC).
Under the partnership development program (RSDP), PRC committed US$10 million (approx. SBD$80m) for rural development to improve the social and economic development and livelihood of citizens in the rural areas of Solomon Islands by strengthening the effective participation of indigenous people and local communities in social and economic initiatives.
The SBD$3 million was the opening portion of the PRC’s US$10 million funding that will be committed to over 50 rural community projects across the Solomon Islands 50 constituencies.
Representing (his) Tawanaora community at the signing ceremony, Hudson Wakio acknowledged PRC and MRD for recognizing one of their community foremost needs after many unsuccessful attempts to seek funding support over the years.
“On behalf of our community leaders and people, I would like to sincerely thank the Solomon Islands Government through MRD and PRC for this very important assistance that will be utilized toward the improvement of the school infrastructure and sanitation to guarantee our children have a conducive and healthy environment for learning,” Mr Wakio said.
President of Moli Chiefs Council and Gaena’alu Movement (AG) in East Guadalcanal, Mel Gibs Topuau also shared the same sentiments on behalf of his community and the constituents.
He said PRC is a friend indeed as manifested in this very important assistance adding he is very proud of the project support that will go towards the development of their constituency economic growth centre.
President Topuau said the project once operational will provide services to people within four (4) wards in the constituency namely Birao, Tetekanji, Moli and Avuavu.
The idea to establish the Constituency Growth Centre at the site was an initiative prompted by community leaders from the four wards in EGC in consultation with their current Member of Parliament who is very supportive to the project to ensure it get off the ground as the constituency took the lead in initial construction work on the building foundation since June this year.
He also thanked PRC for its continuous support to rural development programs in Solomon Islands and the national government through MRD for its coordination work to ensure projects are delivered to rural communities towards improving rural lives.
This new donor partnership is a testament to the MOU signed between PRC and SIG in 2019 in terms of PRC support towards rural development.
PRC provides the funding to the program and MRD is managing and implementing it.
The program is strictly proposal based with MRD coordinating the implementation of this program to ensure that project applications are aligned to the Global Development Initiative of PRC and SIG National Development Strategy (NDS) 2016-2035 National Objectives.
Project proposal submissions are strictly according to the China International Development Cooperation Agency (CIDCA) application format and submissions were already received from communities and constituency offices early this year.
The new program intends to focus more on the 75 per cent of Solomon Islands population living in remote rural areas within the 50 constituencies of Solomon Islands but not neglecting the 25 per cent that resides in urban and semi-urban centres.
RSDP thematic areas of priority are Infrastructure and Income Generating Projects. The infrastructure category focuses on providing and upgrading basic social and economic infrastructures in the rural areas, while Income Generating Projects (IGP) focuses on supporting and enabling rural dwellers to earn daily income to improve their livelihood.
MRD is hosting the newly established donor partnership program in partnership with the Embassy of the Peoples Republic of China in Honiara.
The Scope of funding covers development projects focusing on socio-economic infrastructures and income-generating projects in all of Solomon Islands to achieve integrated sustainable developments.
MRD will conduct robust monitoring and evaluation for accountability and transparency purposes during the RSDP implementation stage.
PRC is the only donor that continues to provide direct support to MRD including the Constituency Development Fund programme since 2019 until 2022 when CDF support ceased.
PRC has since refocused its funding support to rural development in Solomon Islands under the newly established partnership program with SIG through MRD.
More RSDP project agreements are on schedule for signing and implementation in the coming days.