KEKEHE VILLAGE, WESTERN PROVINCE, SOLOMON ISLANDS
Until recently, the women of Kekehe suffered from one of the most common challenges to overcoming poverty in
The biggest town within walking distance of Kekehe is Munda, and until 2016, it was the only official venue for the women of Kekehe to sell their goods.
The central market in Munda is too crowded with vendors, and it’s far away from our village, When we tried to sell our products there we made very little money.said Everly Kaza, a mother of five and long-time resident of Kekehe.
Hazel made about SI$100 a day this way, which put her well below the average income for Solomon Islanders in Western Province. Most women in Kekehe saw how limited the opportunities were to make money and didn’t even bother trying.
I use to sell my products underneath a tree, or I would walk house toshared Hazel, a young mother in Kekehe who sells coconuts and betelnut
house trying to sell.
This all changed, however, when a new market house opened in Kekehe in August 2016.
The market was designed, developed, and continues to be maintained today, by the people of Kekehe. Funding, as well as technical and operational support, came from the Solomon Islands Rural Development Program (RDP), which endeavors to improve basic infrastructure and services in rural areas of Solomon Islands.
With the market house now in place, Hazel makes SI$200 a day- double what she used to earn.
The people here really respect the market, Everyone knows it has had ashared Langy Sunga, who serves as chairman of the village committee responsible for managing the market house.
positive impact on our community.
More than 30 women are registered vendors at the market house, and the women share responsibility for looking after it.
Every woman pays SI$3 per day for the right to sell at the market, and the money goes towards maintenance, cleaning, and toiletries for the bathroom, which was also built as part of the project.
The market house has inspired more Kekehe residents to start home gardens, and women are getting creative with the products they sell. Today, customers can find everything from ready-cooked meals of fish and rice, to fresh produce like cucumbers, cabbage, and coconuts, to household necessities and clothing.