The Ministry of Rural Development (MRD) is the legitimate authority mandated to oversee the implementation of the Constituency Development Fund across the 50 constituencies in the Solomon Islands.
Under the National Development Strategy (NDS), the Constituency Development Fund is aligned to NDS 2 with a specific focus on medium-term strategies 5 and 6. With that, the priority focus is to alleviate poverty, improve the provision of basic needs, and increase food security including the provision of employment and labour mobility opportunities in the rural areas to improve the livelihood of all Solomon Islanders.
On the current government’s redirection of policy priorities, the ministry was tasked with implementing 5 key policy priority areas. The Ministry through the 50 constituencies has successfully delivered on a number of key projects over the last few years. This is despite the diverse challenges faced while embarking on a program with such a huge magnitude in terms of its budget and the scope of its delivery geographically. Also, the fact that the program still lacks the legal framework that is needed to safely guide the management and implementation of the program.
Despite these challenges, the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) has delivered various economic and social services infrastructures. The economic infrastructures include; the development of Constituency Development Centres which provide facilities such as warehouse storage and coconut crushing mill in South Vella Constituency, and the ongoing construction of the Constituency Development Centre (CDC) in East Malaita constituency which recently made lines with additional support from the Peoples Republic of China (PRC) through funding support for the construction of a new mini-hospital, the new market facility and 160 canoes and 160 OBM engines and 160 eskies to project beneficiaries in the Marovo constituency. Other infrastructure projects include the new road construction projects. One key road construction project is the 30 km (Cross West/East road) which is constructed in Small Malaita constituency and is now in its 2nd phase, also other road projects are the Baegu-Asifola Taeloa – Manabeu, which is also a 30km road project, Fataleka and East Guadalcanal constituencies. These are very important economic infrastructures once completed will aid connectivity and access by rural farmers to urban centres and market outlets. Another important economic livelihood support project is the Lepi Fishery Centre in the Gao-Bugotu constituency which is currently operational and provides two deep freezers and one ice-making machine to support fishermen preserve and storing fresh catches before transportation to market outlets.
Also, not to mention other social infrastructure projects which other constituencies have also embarked on. These includes various church building projects currently or near completion in South Guadalcanal, a Courthouse, an office complex, a clinic and a market house and a wharf in the Gao-Bugotu constituency, various successful housing scheme projects in the Ngella constituency including classroom, church building and community rest house buildings and successful housing projects and water projects in Temotu Pele Constituency.
Similarly, MRD values the contribution and partnership of our stakeholders and line ministries in collectively addressing the livelihood of rural Solomon Islanders. Early last year the Ministry of Rural Development and the Ministry of Provincial Government and Institutional Strengthening (MPGIS) reached an MOU to enable the West New Georgia constituency to channel CDF funds through 4 Ward Development Committees (WDC) under the PGSP program to support their program implementation. Recently the Ministry also embarked on a similar partnership now with the Temotu Provincial government, the Ministry of Infrastructure Development and the Ministry of Rural Development to construct a 17-kilometre Lomlom coastal ring-road in the Temotu Pele constituency. This marks another significant milestone in the ministry’s effort to see a partnership approach as a way of addressing rural development in the Solomon Islands. This also aligns with the ministry’s corporate plan 2022-2023 strategic goal 3 which seeks to promote an integrated development process that facilitates a sector-wide approach and promotes genuine partnership for rural development.
The Ministry is optimistic and determined to deliver on the rural development needs of the rural populace in the 50 constituencies. The ministry is currently embarking on consultations with key donor partners to seek opportunities to support the ministry to deliver its mandate. The ministry believes that addressing the rural development needs of the rural people is a challenge that the ministry is not taking lightly and wishes to assure our good constituents that the government through the ministry of Rural Development is committed to continuing to deliver services through the constituency development programme.
To say that there is no progress by CDF is farfetched, in fact the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) has touched many lives and improve constituents’ livelihood very positively contrary to the criticisms.
Constituency offices of the Ministry of Rural Development (MRD) has facilitated soul moving assistance to citizen’s over years, but that has gone on gradually without much publicity, thus, exacerbating public opinion and criticisms that the fund brings no finer impact on the livelihood of our rural people in the country.
Despite these condemnations, there are success stories and positive impacts that CDF has brought to many with little made known to the public. Now that MRD has its own Communications and Public Relations Unit, we will continue to inform and educate our people of the positivity of the CDF programme and its impact on our rural people livelihoods. It is our commitment to reached to the rural areas to bring you the untold stories of CDF impact on our peoples live and continue to promote the development programmes that our government continues to deliver and support it in our rural areas.
MRD is fully committed to see that all rural Solomon Islanders become meaningfully participated in development activities to improve their social and economic livelihoods.
– MRD Press