The Solomon Islands Development Trust

The Solomon Islands Development Trust (SIDT) is an indigenous NGO. Since 1982, it has been working with villagers across the Solomon Islands provinces to promote community empowerment, community-led development, and inclusive participation.

Australian volunteer Media Advisor, Russell Jordan with Radio Producer Walter Furasi at Solomon Islands Development Trust Community Media in Honiara. Photo: M. BainbridgeAs the country's primary proponent of community level development, SIDT works to design and implement participatory projects that build capacity within existing village governance structures. Self-reliance is a key value.

SIDT works at village level in seven provinces, as well as in Honiara, providing Solomon Islanders with essential information and training to develop healthy standards of living, sustainable use of resources, better access to services, and inclusive leadership which encourages villagers to work together for the good of their community.

Location

SIDT's offices are located in the historic Chinatown area of Solomon Islands' capital, Honiara. With a growing population of around 100,000, Honiara is home to the country’s government buildings, commercial centre and sea port, as well as a National Museum, art gallery, markets, botanic gardens and beaches. Diving, snorkelling, hiking and bush-walking are all popular pastimes, with the islands boasting extraordinary marine and terrestrial biodiversity. Honiara is something of a melting pot for the more than 70 living languages spoken throughout the islands. While English is the official language, it is spoken by less than 2% of the population. The lingua franca is Solomons Pijin.

Assistance requested

SIDT staff members need additional training and advisory support in collecting, creating and sharing multi-media information resources that contribute to the research and analysis of issues affecting the people of the islands, improving networking and advocacy activities, developing volunteer capacities, and further progressing content, management, and presentation of SIDT's FM radio station. There is also an important need to enhance the organisation's ability to attract vital funding to ensure its continued existence.

Impact

Australian volunteers have had a long association with SIDT (with over 40 volunteer assignments completed over the past 30 years) and there is a strong alignment in organisational approaches to development. Through the Australian Volunteers program, an Australian Government initiative, SIDT staff have been supported to deliver a number of successful programs throughout the islands in microfinance, HIV and AIDS, violence against women, sanitation and water – 85% of which benefit rural communities. Volunteers have been effectively utilised to strengthen project and organisation financial management, building robust budgeting, reporting, and daily cost control measures. Through these programs, SIDT has established strong support among government, community and donors.