Church leaders have raised a united call urging the national and provincial governments to address some of the country’s pressing issues that were presented in the 2019 Census report.
The call came after the conclusion of a two-day dissemination workshop on the 2019 Census report in Honiara early this week for stakeholders within Guadalcanal Province.
A number of the participants expressed their appreciation on the immense task undertaken by the Solomon Islands National Statistics Office, SINSO, to carry out the census since 2019 and complete all the different phases of which the dissemination of results is the final phase.
Church leaders in particular urged that now is the time for the national and provincial governments to create policies using the data collected to address specific issues highlighted in the report that are affecting people’s livelihood in Solomon Islands.
Some of the issues they focused on were the negative perceptions of households in the country in regards to the Constituency Development Fund, the lack of proper toilet facilities in Solomon Islands households, the national population growth, the increased number of youth population, education and unemployment.
“One interesting thing for me is the large population in the youth level. We can call it a time-bomb waiting to explode”, said the Anglican Church of Melanesia’s Dean of Saint Barnabas Provincial Capital, Reverend Wilfred Kekea.
“We should see them as our future workforce. But are we prepared for them to take over? Are there jobs available for them in the job market? We need to change our policies.”
Similarly, the women coordinator of the South Seas Evangelical Church Florence Naesol, urged the participants to hold their leaders accountable.
“This report paints the picture of Solomon Islands. Let’s just not be participants but actually do something with this information. We need to develop interests in these issues and hold our leaders accountable.”
Church leaders from the Anglican Church of Melanesia, the South Seas Evangelical Church, Roman Catholic Church and the United Church attended the workshop.
The National Statistics Office will conduct two more dissemination workshops on the 2019 Census report in Gizo, Western Province and Auki, Malaita province next week.