Solomon Islands
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MRD acknowledges ‘Citizen-state relations in Solomon Islands’ research findings

The Ministry of Rural Development (MRD) has acknowledged key findings of the ’Citizen-state relations in Solomon Islands’ research project.

This was after Mr. Tony Hiriasia (PhD candidate) and Dr. Gordon Nanau, members of the research project team shared the major research findings to senior officials of the MRD on Tuesday 4th April 2023.

The research project is collaborative research funded by DFAT through the Developmental Leadership Programme (DLP) based at the University of Birmingham, UK with research collaborators from the University of La Trobe in Australia.

Mr. Tony Hiriasia and Dr. Gordon Nanau from the School of Law and Social Sciences (SOLASS) at the University of the South Pacific (USP) were in Honiara to share with key stakeholders and government ministries the main findings of this DLP research project.

(L-R) MRD Deputy Secretary Corporate Constance Wane, MRD Legal intern Tanya Wickham, former Deputy Secretary to the Prime Minister Derek Mane, Gordon Nanau, MRD Principal Monitoring & Evaluation officer Agnes Bopi. Tanihorara, Tony Hiriasia, Human Resource Manager Olive Maezama and Principal Monitoring & Evaluation officer Timoly Carter. Looking on from behind, Director Governance Hickson George and Principal Research Officer Brian Douglas.

“This study explores the conditions under which local communities make development happen. Specifically, it examines the institutional and leadership configurations behind the successful production of local public goods,” Dr. Nanau said.

“It also aims to identify and learn from cases where leadership has enabled positive development outcomes in Solomon Islands. The study also looks at how leaders – within and across institutions of the state, church or kastom – have collaborated effectively to enable positive progress in the inclusive provision of vital services” he added.

He emphasized that local public goods are significant because they can deliver a collective rather than individual developmental gain.

“The projects studied are community projects that (re-) generate physical or social infrastructure (schools, clinics, meeting spaces, agricultural land, roads, walkways, water supplies) with the potential to improve the livelihoods and wellbeing of people living in their vicinity.

“Such goods are typically co-produced through a collective endeavor that may, for example, include community mobilization and fundraising, local labor or resource contributions, and, in some cases, financial support from Members of Parliament, Provincial governments or central line ministries.

“We selected four projects each in two constituencies both on Malaita and Guadalcanal because local people who led or collaborated on them reported they had positive effects on local wellbeing and livelihoods.

“Each case studied shed light on how public goods that are meaningful for people’s everyday survival are produced in a context of hybrid governance where authority is dispersed between church, state, and customary institutions,” Dr. Nanau explained.

“Our trip to Honiara is basically to share our key findings with government ministries, NGOs and the public and to get feedback or at least engage in positive discussions with Solomon Islanders and others.

“We had discussions with some Honiara based NGOs, the Ministry of Rural Development (MRD), and the Ministry of Development Planning and Aid Coordination (MDPAC). We also shared information with the Australia Awards Alumni in Solomon Islands (AAASI) and the Honiara community through a public seminar at the USP SMI campus,” he said.

Deputy Secretary Corporate (DSC) of MRD Constance Wane while acknowledging the major research findings said the ministry looks forward to the final research report.

She said, MRD as the ministry responsible for development in the 50 constituencies and communities has acknowledged the findings which also confirm those identified by officers during monitoring of project implementation through the Constituency Development Programme.

Ms. Wane said she is hopeful that the key findings will assist MRD in the current reforms it is undertaking to improve socio-economic development in rural communities.

Director Governance Hickson George also shared the same sentiments.

He thanked Dr. Nanau and Mr. Hiriasia for the information shared adding such research is critical as it will aid the MRD in its effort to improve development in rural communities and the livelihood of Solomon Islanders.

Mr. Hickson said he also looks forward for the research’s final report when it is made publicly available and accessible to stakeholders.

The information sharing session also provided an opportunity for MRD officers to share their experiences and challenges faced in their respective fields, especially on project implementation in the constituencies and rural communities.

ENDS//

– MRD MEDIA