Post by Katie Rosenthal
This week’s Silver Lining post comes from the Solomon Islands. The islands are a sovereign state in Oceania, consisting of nearly one hundred thousand separate islands. The United Kingdom established a protectorate over the islands in 1893, and independence was achieved in 1978. A 2009 estimate placed the population of the islands at 523,000. Education on the islands is not compulsory, with around 60% of school age children having access to primary education. Seventy percent of the population is aged under 29, and a lack of employment opportunities for young people contributes to high rates of substance abuse, sexual exploitation and domestic violence.
This month thousands of those children who are attending school teamed up with the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) in an awareness campaign against domestic violence. The campaign, “Securing a Safer Community in Partnership”, also confronts the issues of abuse of drugs and alcohol. The campaign began with a march, attended by thousands of primary and secondary school students, bringing banner to show their condemnation of violence against women and children.
High profile musician Tibon Oge also attended, and entertained the crowds with his songs themed around awareness of the effects of tobacco and the problem of violence. Various stakeholders were also present and gave presentations, including Save the Children.
Sergeant Leonard Kwai spoke at the launch, explaining that the purpose of the campaign is to raise public awareness of the fact that young people on the islands want safer and stronger communities, without violence. He noted that “the only means of achieving [this] is to inform the public of the impacts and effects that violence may have on our children, youths and even the elderly in our communities- how it will shape our communities in the future. This is the first event of its kind to take place”. He went on to salute those who attended, in helping the nation to progress.