Solomon Islands
In the Solomon Islands schooling is not compulsory; as a result, there are low enrollment rates among all young people. Less than 60 percent of children enter primary schooling, of which, the ratio of girls to boys enrolled is roughly equal. However, there is a large disparity between the percentage of girls enrolled in primary school versus secondary school. The gross rate for girls enrolled in secondary school is only 27 percent.

As a result, the respective literacy rates for women remain low as the country attempts to better its education. In 1999, the recorded literacy rate for women aged 15 years and older was 69 percent while men in the same age range had a literacy rate of almost 84 percent.

Improving Girls’ Education in The Solomon Islands

To combat the illiteracy in the Solomon Islands, World Vision began its Early Childhood and Adult Literacy projects on the islands. The aid organization has three projects in the provinces of Honiara, Temotu and Makira. The projects’ aim is to provide functional literacy to woman and youth on the islands.

In addition to literacy programs, World Vision uses the projects to provide economic, social and educational activities to the communities that the projects serve. After learning the necessary foundational skills — like literacy — the women are then provided with the economic and personal skills they need to become leaders in their communities.

World Vision’s Early Childhood and Adult Literacy projects are beneficial strategies to decrease adult illiteracy and aid women who missed opportunities for education when they were young. To better girls’ education in the Solomon Islands, World Bank has proposed multiple strategies that would provide a more egalitarian approach to education.

World Bank’s Suggestions for Keeping Enrollment Up

I order to target the discrepancy between the percentage of girls enrolled in primary and secondary education, World Bank suggests that educational settings should ensure water and sanitation facilities, education for pregnant young women, safe accommodation for boarding students including safety from violence and sexual abuse and access to sexual and reproductive health services.

All aspects of the aforementioned suggestions are solutions to a range of issues that prevent young girls from continuing schooling past the primary level. World Bank also highlights the fact that sexual and reproductive health services are critical to improving the educational experiences of girls, as teen pregnancy is one of the main reasons young women end their schooling.

Another strategy that World Bank has proposed involves offering short-courses, non-formal training and mobile village skills to girls who cannot access formal schooling. The current standard of focusing girls’ education on domestic skills is preventing girls from gaining the necessary education to participate in the economy.

Additionally, these village courses would reduce the need for rural families to send their daughters to board at schools, which is a major safety concern. The informal and mobile courses would offer girls an opportunity to gain an education that they otherwise would not have access to.

While the islands have been making some progress towards bettering their education, more work can be done to continue making progress in girls’ education in the Solomon Islands. The work of World Vision and World Bank offers valid solutions to the problems facing girls in their schooling. When coupled with government action on the islands, education can soon become more equal for girls in this small oceanic country.

– Savannah Hawley

Photo: Flickr

Causes of Poverty in the Solomon IslandsThe Solomon Islands are six major islands which form a country. The country lies east of Australia. While the country enjoys a rich and unique culture, there are still a few causes of poverty in the Solomon Islands. The four overall causes of poverty in the Solomon Islands are all related closely.

Ethnic Tensions

Between 1998 and 2003, the Soloman Islands experienced civil unrest. In September 1998, an armed group, the Guadalcanal Indigenous Revolutionary Army, attacked Malaitan inhabitants’ villages in the Guadalcanal Province. As a result, the governor-general of the Solomon Islands declared a state of emergency, implementing martial law.

Following the attack, Malaitan villagers fled to another island, Malaita. The violence stemmed from decades of economic inequality, with the Malaitan settlers being perceived as much more wealthy compared to the local populations.

Income disparity and power caused tensions between islanders to boil over. Income disparity continues to be an issue for the Solomon Islands, particularly with regards to its urban and rural populations.


Being a country consisting of islands, the Solomon Islands are classified as a Small Island Developing State (SID). As such, the nation experiences isolation from the market and international transportation. While the Solomon Islands do have a developed domestic economy and are tapped into the international market, the far-off location of the country makes international transport to and from the Solomon Islands expensive, as well as cumbersome.

The location of the country is a heavy contributor to causes of poverty in the Solomon Islands. Physical isolation from the main international markets means that the country has to spend much more in developing personal relationships with well-recognized markets located in North America, Europe and Asia.


The country’s economy is dominated by agricultural industries. These industries are logging, fisheries, copra, palm oil and cocoa. Copra is the dried meat from a coconut, created after oil has been extracted.

Logging alone accounted for 25 percent of economic growth in 2007. While these industries have consisted over 95 percent of all exports as of 2007, the current youth struggle to reconfigure their agricultural upbringing with an economy that strives to integrate into a global economy.

In 2012, approximately 79 percent of the Solomon Islands’ population remained rural. As a result, this segment of the population was largely dependent on semi-subsistence agriculture, fisheries and forestry. The rural population also used other small-scale, informal streams of revenue from within the local communities.

Lack of Employment for Youth

As of 2016, 46 percent of the youth in the Solomon Islands are unemployed. These youth contend with increasing violence and a poor educational infrastructure. Without access to technological or telecommunication skills, youth are disadvantaged in trying to find employment on a global level. Instead, youth may be forced to take up traditional, agricultural-based jobs.

While these jobs may provide for youth in the short-term, it results in long-term dissatisfaction. The isolated location of the country means that youth must either find work in the country or leave the country altogether.

The causes of poverty in the Solomon Islands would benefit from targeted policies that aim to increase the educational infrastructure and career options for youth.

The Solomon Islands are already working towards improving its infrastructure. The National Adaptation Programme of Action (NAPA) has analyzed some of the environmental causes of poverty in the Solomon Islands. It plans to rehabilitate coastal zones, helping to prevent erosion and other dramatic and negative climate changes.

By preserving the environment of the Solomon Islands, NAPA hopes to improve a variety of livelihoods for the local population and lay the foundation for long-term sustainable development.

Smriti Krishnan

Photo: Flickr

Poverty in the Solomon Islands poverty rateThe Solomon Islands is an archipelago of 992 tropical islands residing between Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu. The country has a population of 555,000 predominantly Melanesian citizens. Poverty in the Solomon Islands is a prevailing issue.

Factors Exacerbating Poverty in the Solomon Islands

UNICEF reports that this country is one of the poorest pacific islands as it is still recovering from recent civil conflict. In addition, the islands are consistently victims of natural disaster; they experienced five tropical cyclones, two volcanic eruptions and one tsunami in 2010 alone.

The Solomon Islands are located in a “ring of fire” or a zone of active volcanoes that also comprises 90 percent of the world’s earthquakes. The earthquake in January 2010 registered at a 7.2 magnitude. It left one-third of the population on the island of Rendova without a home, The Guardian reports.

Due to the abundance of devastating natural disaster, the infrastructure of the country is also under great pressure as those facing poverty move to urban areas. Caritas Australia reports that less than only one of every three islanders had access to sufficient sanitation facilities in 2012.

Natural disasters, political unrest and movement of displaced people have made poverty in the Solomon Islands a serious issue. The Asian Development Bank reports that 22.7 percent of the population lives below the poverty line.

Evidence of this can be seen as medical issues are often not tended to at a proper time. Lack of connectivity between the islands makes it difficult for doctors and medical professionals to reach certain islands regularly and especially in emergency situations.

Members of UNICEF experienced this first hand as they traveled to the Vella la Vella island by way of a forty-minute boat ride, wading through water to reach land and walking along a gravel road to the islands’ only medical facility.

UNICEF worked with the staff to train and equip them through improved immunization services, prenatal and delivery care and programs designed to prevent HIV.

The organization has implemented a number of other programs in the islands such as aiding hospitals in reconstruction after damage due to the tsunami, along with expanded birth registration and counseling. UNICEF’s ultimate goal is to set-up opportunities that will enable medical facilities of the Solomon Islands to run efficiently on their own.

“It is very important that both UNICEF and other international donors when providing assistance… ensure that the assistance given lays the foundation for sustainable change in the communities that we aim to help,” said Andrei Dapkiunas, a permanent United Nations Representative and UNICEF partner.

UNICEF is not the only organization providing hope for the country. Caritas Australia, whose goal is to “end poverty, promote justice, uphold dignity” supports programs in the islands that teach social justice in schools. Over 5,000 children have been introduced to themes of equality, leadership, peacebuilding and environmental stewardship.

In light of the physical dangers the islanders face, the organization has provided teachers with curriculum instructing children how to prepare for natural disasters through nursery rhymes and games.

This country faces greater challenges than most due to its location on the globe, but the future is not without hope for these resilient people. Through programs and organizations working to build sustainable change, it is possible to combat poverty in the Solomon Islands.

Rebecca Causey

Photo: Flickr