Men championing transformation in Solomon Islands

A father helps his child wash their hands after using the newly installed toilet at their home in a rural community in Solomon Islands

A father provides a role model for positive masculinity, assisting his child wash their hands properly after using their newly installed toilet at their home in a community in Solomon Islands (Live & Learn Environmental Education Solomon Islands and Plan International Solomon Islands ) 


Like many households across Solomon Islands, in Francis’ family, men traditionally held full decision-making power and women were solely responsible for all household chores.


But over the past five years, Water for Women's New Times New Targets project with Plan International and Live & Learn Environmental Education (LLEE) has been working to transform negative social norms that perpetuate inequality through socially inclusive water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) initiatives. 


As part of the project, Francis and other men participated in training and activities that emphasised the importance of shared decision-making. Francis came to understand that women have the right and valueable knowledge to contribute to decisions, and the importance of sharing household responsibilities. He consulted his wife, Elsy, and began making changes at home. Francis and Elsy analysed their household roles and responsibilities and started to share them differently among the family.


One of the challenges the family had faced was lack of access to safely managed sanitation. When they needed to use the toilet, they would visit a beach nearby to practise open defecation. This had poor health implications for not only their family, but for the whole community. Together, Francis and Elsy decided to build their own toilet and supported each other in raising money to purchase materials for the construction.


Now, Francis assists his children to use the toilet and helps to keep it clean. And a transformation can be seen occurring in households across their village. Community leaders, including the village chief, chairman and women's band leaders, encourage all members of the community to get involved in decision-making, and more and more men are recognising the knowledge, contributions and concerns of their wives.


Through the project, Francis and Elsy were also supported to visit neighbouring villages to share their experience and perspectives on both the importance of household sanitation and hygiene, and of sharing responsibilities.


An inclusive community is an essential building block of climate resilience. Socially inclusive and cohesive communities are naturally more resilient, including to shocks from a changing climate, and they are more likely to have effective and sustainable water and WASH services and systems. Climate change will escalate risks and exacerbate impacts, particularly on vulnerable populations – inclusive water and WASH are critical connectors for community resilience and the ability to adapt and respond to increasing climate hazards.


The New Times New Targets project was implemented by Plan International in partnership with LLEE from 2018-2022. With the aim of achieving improved WASH services, access and practice in rural communities, health clinics and schools in western Guadalcanal Province, Solomon Islands, the project directly benefitted more than 7,700 people.


Building on this project, Water for Women is partnering with Plan International and LLEE from 2023-2024 to deliver climate-adaptive and inclusive WASH in Solomon Islands. Partners are working closely with national, provincial and local governments to strengthen the coordination between climate, WASH, health, education and administrative divisions to improve technical approaches to identifying and assessing climate vulnerabilities and risks, as well as evidence-based approaches to improving climate-resilient WASH practices and management for schools, healthcare facilities and communities.



To celebrate International Women's Day, we are pleased to invite you to our World Water Day event that will highlight Pacific voices for climate-resilient water and WASH and take these learnings and messages to the UN Water Conference 2023 in New York, a watershed moment for the water and WASH sectors.


Wednesday 22nd March

10am Melbourne | 11am Fiji | 6pm New York


Register now

A blue graphic tinted overlay of a scene of a rural village in PNG. There is an event title written in white: 'Women at the forefront: Valuing diverse voices, leadership and action on SDG6' along with event details

A climate-resilient future needs #WomenUpstream


Women are at the forefront of change - Recognising and valuing the critical contributions of women, including Indigenous women, as decision-makers, stakeholders, farmers, educators, carers and experts across sectors and at all levels is key to a climate-resilient future. Recognition and meaningful action on this front is a “game-changer” and the key to successful and sustainable solutions to climate change and achieving SDG 6.


Climate change will escalate risks and exacerbate impacts, particularly on vulnerable populations. Inclusive and equitable water and WASH are critical connectors for community resilience, equipping communities to adapt and respond to increasing climate hazards.


On International Women's Day we call for diverse perspectives at the decision-making table to strengthen prospects for more holistic and sustainable solutions to climate related issues at all levels – from global to local.


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