Tiaro Bay, Solomon Islands (November 9, 2023): The University of the South Pacific (USP) component of the Pacific-European Union Marine Partnership (PEUMP) Programme supported by the European Union and the Government of Sweden successfully delivered its very first community-based financial literacy training in the month of October within Tiaro Bay communities in the Solomon Islands.
This initiative, in collaboration with the Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited (ANZ), is part of the Money-Minded Financial Literacy Program tailored for Solomon Islands fishing communities, aims to empower and equip coastal fishers with financial knowledge and skills on how to manage their earnings from coastal harvests.
Senior Fisheries Officer – Community based Management at the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Solomon Islands, Peter Kenilorea stated, “this financial literacy program complements well into the Solomon Islands Community Based Coastal and Management Strategy (2021 – 2025)’s vision to ensure healthy and resilient marine and coastal resources and their sustainable management that contributes to the socio-economic needs and food security of all Solomon Islanders.”
“And having these financial literacy awareness trainings conducted in fishing communities can be life-changing to skillful fishers; in particular women who may otherwise have no access to financial literacy programmes and qualifications, ” he added.
The training was conducted in local pidgin English to bridge knowledge gaps for and ensure the program’s effectiveness within the communities.
Lucia Kuti, a fisherwoman and farmer in Tiaro Bay, expressed her gratitude for the training, recognising its potential to improve financial management among local fishers and farmers.
She remarked, “Most of us fishers/farmers have trouble with managing our fishing earnings so this training will surely help us moving forward. And I am grateful for this opportunity. I am excited to apply these learnings within my own family as well as to take these learnings forward to other women in my community; sharing with them key lessons on how to budget and save money; as well as financial planning for the future of our families.” she said.
Key outcomes of these learnings were centred around identifying needs and wants, budgeting, sustaining money until the next harvests and future financial plannings.
Dr Jokim Kitolelei, Lecturer and USP PEUMP coordinator, highlighted the importance of the financial well-being of fishing communities. He stated, “The financial wellbeing of fishing communities is important. We will continue to invest in financial literacy programs in the Pacific; with the aim to empower fishing communities with financial skills and knowledge to help them make informed financial decisions for improved livelihoods”.
This program will be rolled out as well in other parts of Fiji; followed by Solomon Islands, Timor Leste, and Vanuatu in collaboration with the ANZ country offices.
USP is one of four key implementing partners of the EUR 45million PEUMP Program, which aims to promote sustainable management and sound ocean governance for food security and economic growth while addressing climate change resilience and conservation of marine biodiversity. It follows a comprehensive approach, integrating issues related to ocean fisheries, coastal fisheries, community development, marine conservation and capacity building under one single regional action.
The PEUMP project is funded by the European Union and the Government of Sweden; and housed within the Institute of Marine Resources within the School of Agriculture, Geography, Environment, Ocean and Natural Sciences (SAGEONS) of USP.