Solomon Islands: Changing Lives through Urban Employment

April 16, 2016


With few jobs available in the capital Honiara, a World Bank-supported project is proving new opportunities by providing training and short term jobs.

Challenge

Each year, thousands of Solomon Islanders move to the capital Honiara in the hope of finding employment. However, in a country only beginning to recover from a civil conflict that tore the country apart between 1998 and 2003, jobs are scarce. Those who move to Honiara face high levels of unemployment, expanding squatter settlements with poor standards of housing and a deteriorating social environment.

Approach

The Rapid Employment Project aims to help improve the living standard for vulnerable urban communities by providing training and creating short-term jobs through the building and maintenance of community infrastructure.


" Now that I have a regular income, I make sure I manage it well. I save some of my pay for my son’s school fees, I put some of it into our staff savings club, and what’s left over I use for food and transport. "

Alison Lenga

A 28-year-old who after many years of looking for work now has her first formal job as an office cleaner and is the sole breadwinner for her family of three.

In the midst of growing unemployment in the capital Honiara, a project is helping provide training and job opportunities for thousands of people, where half are women and youth.


Results

Since the project began in 2010, the Rapid Employment Project has:

  • Employed more than 12,000 young people from vulnerable communities
  • Created over 664,000 labour days.
  • Provided short-term employment to over 12,000 people
  • Provided more than US$ 2.8 million in wages
  • Seen young Solomon Islanders build 34 infrastructure projects and support more than 1,200 other community projects throughout the capital, Honiara and other areas.

The project is effectively targeting vulnerable groups, including unemployed women and youth, with 60% of the participants being women and 53% being youth between the ages of 16 to 29 years.

Bank Group Contributions

The World Bank Group has committed $3.2 million from IDA.

Partners

The projects is also financed by the State and Peace Building Fund (SPBF) and the Pacific Regional Infrastructure Facility (PRIF) Trust Funds, each committing $2 million. The project is implemented in partnership with the Ministry of Infrastructure Development and the Honiara City Council.

Moving Forward

An additional financing for the project of $1.5 million became effective in October 2015, and new activities are now beginning. The revised end date of the project is now December 31, 2016.

Beneficiaries

Alison Lenga dropped out of school at the end of primary school and had been searching for a job for many years. The 28-year old now has her first formal job as an office cleaner and is the sole breadwinner for a family of three.

“Now that I have a regular income, I make sure I manage it well. I save some of my pay for my son’s school fees, I put some of it into our staff savings club, and what’s left over I use for food and transport.”