Gizo women save and celebrate in style
The women were part of the Gizo Environment Livelihood Governance Association (GELCA) and Nusatuva Environment Conservation Development Association (NECDA) savings clubs and the day was an opportunity for them to celebrate the establishment of their saving scheme and the launch of their revolving loan fund component.
In welcoming those present at the celebrations, Shannon Seeto, the Country Manager for the WWF-Pacific Solomon Islands office, acknowledged the women’s success and accomplishments in the seven months the savings scheme has been running.
“Today we celebrate another milestone in these women’s achievements with the launch of their revolving Fund that will be made available to the seven zone communities that are part of the women’s financial inclusion club.
“The journey these women have taken has been nothing short of incredible and today we are witnessing an amazing new way of saving and economic empowerment for the women of Gizo,” Seeto said.
The scheme is the micro-finance component of the Inshore Fisheries Aggregating Devices (IFAD) project that is being supported by WWF-Australia, funded by Australian Aid and John West Australia. The IFAD project aims to enhance the lives of coastal artisanal fishing communities on and around the island of Ghizo and further explore ways to assist the income, food security and ecology in the context of ecosystem based governance and management of coastal fisheries.
The mission of WWF around the world is to ensure there is human harmony with nature, and the work on the micro-finance inclusion is part of the programme that creates economic opportunities as well as ensuring the ocean’s resources are being sustainably used.
In launching the loan component of the micro financing scheme WWF-Australia Conservation Director, Gilly Llewellyn, also congratulated the women on their achievements.
“On behalf of WWF-Australia, we are very proud to be supporting the financial inclusiveness initiative to encourage women to participate in microfinance initiatives and to give them skills to engage in banking, in loans, in savings and in business development,” Llewellyn said.
“So for the past year it is like we have been planting a seed, we have been gently tending to that seed, we have been giving it water, we have been showing it sun, and now we have a young plant that is strong and we look forward to seeing this plant grow stronger and stronger,” she added.
To mark the launch of the loan component of the micro-finance project, John West Australia injected $15,000AUD as seed money to kick start their loan scheme.
Llewellyn conveyed a congratulatory message on their behalf in which they thanked all those that were involved in the project especially the local women.
“We have already seen some fantastic results in the micro-financing initiative in the seven Gizo communities and look forward to the continued success of this partnership,” their statement read.
John West Australia also made their commitment to work closely with their partners, communities and suppliers to continue to safeguard their oceans by continually improving fishing practices and conditions of fishing communities.
Seven months since its establishment, the Gizo Women’s Saving Club that began with 40 now has membership of more than 500 women and its members have managed to save more than $84,000SD.
Following the launch, the executives from the seven zones went through a one day workshop to familiarize themselves with the loan component aspect of the scheme.