‘Healthy Market Setting’ Committee in Auki develop plans for 2016 and beyond
The Health Promotions Department of the Provincial Ministry of Health, Malaita Province, is working with stakeholders, including market vendors, to create “healthy people in healthy markets”.
The department is participating in the ‘Healthy Settings’ initiative, a national programme coordinated and facilitated by the national and provincial healthy settings team which aim at improving and developing approaches, including empowering people to promote healthy living and lifestyle.
The initiative started in Auki in January 2015, with the establishment of the Healthy Market Setting Committee, which was followed by a needs assessment of the Auki Central Market. This led to the washing and painting of the market, the pruning of fallen trees and some health awareness raising in the market place.
This year, the Auki Healthy Market Setting Committee have come together on Tuesday 13 February and Wednesday 9 March to focus on activities that will promote health and safety in the Auki Central Market. Up to 20 committee members and stakeholders have participated in discussions on health and safety priorities that will inform a Healthy Market Setting Strategic Plan, an essential document that will focus and guide the committee in the months and years to come.
The Strategic Planning workshop is a joint initiative supported by UN Women through the Markets for Change project, which aims to promote gender equality and the social and economic empowerment of market vendors, with specific attention to the needs and aspirations of women market vendors. It includes aspects that promotes health and safety in the marketplace.
“We are all working towards a clean and safe environment at the Auki Central Market,” says Mr Kemuel Irofunu, Health Promotions Officer and Chairman of the Malaita Healthy Market Setting Committee. “In order to get the best outcomes, it is essential that we work together in partnership with key stakeholders represented in the Healthy Market Setting Committee. Many committee members are from different departments of the Malaita Provincial Government, but also includes from key stakeholders such as the Auki Market Vendors’ Association and UN Women’s Markets for Change Project.”
A ‘setting’ is where people actively use and shape the environment; thus it is also where people create or solve problems relating to health. Settings can normally be identified as having physical boundaries, a range of people with defined roles, and an organisational structure. Examples of settings include markets, schools, work sites, hospitals, villages and cities.
“It is important to understand that sicknesses start in the setting, and then they end up in the hospital,” explains Selwyn Warito, Chief Health Promotions Officer with Malaita Province’s Health Promotion Division. “The social and physical environment of the market has an impact on people’s health. Access to water, healthy quality food practices, food handling and waste management – all these things will impact the health of the people and the market setting is a good opportunity to create awareness and improve health practices.”
Globally UN Women recognises that it is crucial that support and focus be given to fostering leadership and participation of women when it comes to shaping laws, policies and programmes on all issues that affect their lives.
“We are pleased to see that the Healthy Market Setting Committee in Malaita has valued the voice of the market vendors and have allocated a position in the Committee to represent the Auki Market Vendors’ Association. The market vendors are in the market daily and it is in their best interest for that environment to be safe and healthy” says Kristy Nowland, Project Manager for Markets for Change.
UN Women’s Markets for Change project works closely with local governments and market vendors, especially women, as well as other stakeholders. In Solomon Islands, Markets for Change is working with Honiara City Council and Malaita Provincial Government, including the Healthy Market Setting Committees at both sites.
The six-year project is made possible primarily through funding from the Australian Government, as part of its Pacific Women Shaping Pacific Development Initiative.
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UN Women’s Markets for Change project
UN Women’s Markets for Change project is a key component of its Women’s Economic Empowerment programme. The six-year, multi-country initiative aims to ensure that marketplaces in rural and urban areas in Fiji, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu are safe, inclusive and non-discriminatory, promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment.
Between 75% and 90% of vendors working at Pacific marketplaces are women and their earnings often make up a significant portion of the incomes of many poor households. Despite this, women are often excluded from market governance and decision-making. M4C works with stakeholders, service providers and the market vendors themselves to: build and support inclusive, effective and representative advocacy groups; deliver appropriate services, training and interventions; ensure women’s voices are heard and taken into account at the decision-making level; and to improve physical infrastructure and operating systems.
Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, through the Pacific Women Shaping Pacific Development Initiative, has provided the bulk of the funding to support the implementation of the Markets for Change project.
About UN Women and the Multi-Country Office (MCO) in Fiji
The United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) was created at the July 2010 United Nations General Assembly. A global champion for women and girls, UN Women was established to accelerate progress on meeting their needs worldwide. The MCO covers 14 Pacific Island Countries and Territories (PICTs): Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Republic of Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu. The Fiji MCO works with four key programmes: Women’s Economic Empowerment; Ending Violence Against Women; Advancing Gender Justice in the Pacific; and Increasing Community Resilience through Empowerment of Women to Address Climate Change and Natural Hazards Programme to progress with gender equality and women’s empowerment in the Pacific.Source: UN Women