Online Project Showcase

Women’s Economic Empowerment and Leadership in Solomon Islands

  • Organisation:

    West ‘Are'Are Rokotanikeni Association (WARA) in partnership with International Women’s Development Agency (IWDA)

  • ABN or Auspicing Organisation:


  • Scope of Activity:


  • Geographic Location:

    Solomon Islands

  • Target Groups:


Funding Information

  • Total Funding Required (AUD):


  • Current Funding (AUD):


  • Funding Needed (AUD):


  • Tax Deductability Status (DGR):


  • Tax Concession Status (TCC):


  • DGR Additional Information:


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Project Information

  • Project Commencement Date:
  • 01 Jul 2016
  • Project Completion Date:
  • 30 Jun 2019
  • What issues are addressed?:
  • Solomon Islands ranked in the bottom 5 countries of The Economist’s 2012 Women’s Economic Opportunity Index. A range of factors limit women’s economic empowerment: lack of representation in decisions that affect their economic lives, limited work opportunities, and limited access to financial institutions.

    Women’s representation in decision-making positions in formal institutions is very low, with only three women parliamentarians since 1978. While women often play critical leadership roles in the community, they are often not perceived to have leadership capabilities.

    WARA operates in the remote area of West ‘Are ‘Are, on the southern part of Malaita Province. There is no access to roads; irregular shipping and motorised canoe are the main modes of transport. With banks several hours away, women have no place to safely store their savings. With no savings, women are left dependent on their partner, and have little control over how and where their money is spent.
  • Project Description:
  • WARA was founded in 1999 by a group of local Solomon Islands women who wanted to provide women in West ‘Are ‘Are with a means of financial autonomy. The Savings Club established has enabled over a thousand members to save more than a million Solomon Islands Dollars (about AUD 166,000). Members are able to plan their spending, start small businesses and feel in greater control of their finances.

    This project has two components:
    1. Savings Club. The project is providing ongoing training and support around financial management and business development, and good governance in order that members practice principles of transparency and accountability. In addition, the WARA Savings Club model and procedures will be documented in order to easily share with other groups around the Solomon Islands.

    2. Leadership. This project will build the capacity of women for leadership, good governance, public speaking, and ability to engage equally with men in all levels of leadership.
  • Alleviating suffering / disadvantage?:
  • This project alleviates the disadvantage of women in the remote West ‘Are ‘Are area by connecting women to banks, so they can establish financial autonomy. When women are unable to access an independent bank account, their control over financial resources shrinks. It is near impossible to keep money safe for emergencies, medication, education or starting a business.

    Four times a year WARA staff travel 50+ hours by ship and motorised canoe to provide withdrawals and collect money from women in the rural communities of West ‘Are ‘Are. Staff also provide financial literacy training and support women to pursue leadership opportunities.

    Women’s economic empowerment is inextricably linked to whether or not they are enabled to be in positions of political and community leadership, where decisions are made that directly affect women’s economic lives. In addition to the Savings Club, this project alleviates disadvantage by enabling women to have a say in family and community decision making
  • Changing Policy, Practices & Systems?:
  • This project encourages women to engage actively in leadership and decision-making processes, and equips them with the knowledge, skills and confidence to do this. WARA will be building the skills and knowledge for leadership, good governance and public speaking, and help women develop the confidence and capacity to engage with men in leadership at all levels. Special attention will be given to encouraging young WARA women and girls to lead.

    Targeted workshops, often in partnership with other women’s groups that WARA connects with, will:
    • Build awareness of women’s rights under international agreements and domestic law, and help them hold duty-bearers to account;
    • Provide women with voter education; and
    • Build awareness of the way that ‘Are ‘Are traditional culture supports women’s leadership.

    Workshops are held with chiefly and church leaders (mostly men) focused on how men and leaders can provide an enabling environment for women’s leadership and economic empowerment.
  • Investing in or empowering women?:
  • This project empowers women in West ‘Are ‘Are by providing a means for financial autonomy, and creating an enabling environment for women’s leadership – so that women can be represented at the decision-making table.
  • Media / Promotion?:
  • The work of WARA is promoted through:
    • Solomon Islands media
    • IWDA communications
  • How is success evaluated / measured?:
  • Success looks like:
    • Increased number of rural women and young women have access to financial services;
    • Increased number of women Savings Club members have participated in financial management and business development training to assist their access to sustainable livelihoods;
    • Increased number of women and men provided with awareness raising/training on gender issues and women’s equal rights, as well as national and international policy and legislative commitments to women’s equal rights to assist in their attitudinal and behavioural change and active push for duty bearer accountability; and
    • Increased number of women in local level leadership positions.

    A mid-term review is about to be conducted to measure progress and inform program planning for the remainder of the project. An evaluation will also be conducted at the end of the project to inform future program design development and pitch to donors.

Contact Information

  • Contact Person:

    Andreana Reale

  • Email:

  • Website:

    Click Here

  • Phone:

    03 8373 2516