(Front Row) SICCI CEO Atenasi Ata, representatives of Solomon Islands Professional Training Centre (SIPTC) and rep from MID. (Back Row) IFC/SICCI Gender Coordinator Ruth Maetala (far right) and participating women who completed the driver training.

Twelve (12) women including employees from two State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) who are participating in the Waka Mere Commitment to Action initiative have successfully completed an intensive six-week driver training and are now certified drivers.

Solomon Power and Solomon Water are among fifteen of the largest employers in Solomon Islands pioneering measures to promote gender equality in the workplace through Waka Mere.

This driver training course for women is part of Component three of Waka Mere, which focuses on increasing opportunities for women in non-traditional jobs.

Waka Mere is a two-year initiative implemented by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) in partnership with the Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SICCI), supported by the governments of Australia and New Zealand.

The Waka Mere Commitment to Action initiative aims to promote gender equality in business in Solomon Islands.

IFC/SICCI Gender Coordinator, Ms Ruth Maetala congratulated the successful participants of the driving course and highlighted that training women to drive increases productivity and gives women independence.

“It is good for other male drivers, as there is widespread evidence which shows that having more women drivers in the workplace increases the safety records of all drivers and leads to improved maintenance of vehicles,” Ms Maetala said.

On behalf of IFC and SICCI, Ms Maetala acknowledged Solomon Water and Solomon Power for their support to empowering women in the workplaces of the private sector.

She also thanked Solomon Islands Professional Training Centre (SIPTC) for their satisfactory delivery of the driver course, and supporting these women in obtaining their driving licenses.

A brief ceremony was hosted on Wednesday 3rd June where SICCI Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Ms Atenasi Ata handed out certificates to the women for successfully completing the driver training.

The Ministry of Infrastructure and Development (MID) officer present at the brief ceremony commended the women further noting that the classroom training, and the hands-on training was only about 80% of the required competency. And that he further encouraged them to keep driving to gain the vital on-road experience to attain the remaining 20%.

Under the Waka Mere Commitment to Action, fifteen of Solomon Islands’ leading employers, all of whom are members of SICCI, have pledged to promote gender equality through committing to any of three core areas: to increase opportunities for women in leadership within their organization; build respectful and supportive workplaces including supporting staff impacted by domestic violence; and promoting opportunities for women in jobs traditionally held by men.

About the author

Philip Lilomo is the Chamber's Media & Communications Officer. Philip writes most of the Chamber's media releases. He also manages the website contents, designs the Chamber's monthly newsletter, brochures and maintains the organisation's visual branding. 

Philip can be contacted on email: media@solomonchamber.com.sb 

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