Stories from the field: Iulyn Kapi, Boeboe, Choiseul.
Boeboe is a remote village in Choiseul Province, Solomon Islands. The community is predominantly reliant on agriculture and fisheries production for their livelihoods. However, the geographic location of the village limits community members’ capacities to generate income and access markets to sell their crops and fish products. Compounding this problem is the increasingsea-level, which threatens the fertility of soil for agricultural production, and the impending threat of logging and mining on Boeboe’s land.
To assist in the protection of Boeboe’s forests, NRDF began working in partnership with the Boeboe community to promote alternative livelihood opportunities that do not exploit their terrestrial areas. Under the Forest for Life program, NRDF have supported honey-bee farming and a women’s savings club in the area. Honey production is a viable alternative income generating activity as it is at low risk to climate variability, and honey is able to be stored for long periods, which is helpful in Boeboe due to limited access markets. The aim of the savings club was to ensure that the money generated from the honey farms would be securely managed by encouraging women’s control and ownership over the income.
Iulyn Kapi, a newly married 30 year old woman, is one of the beneficiaries of this project. Iulyn is the mother of one child. Through the assistance of NRDF, Iulyn has been appointed thecommunity honey-bee coordinator and the chairlady of the women’s savings club.Through Iulyn’s involvement in the program, she has become one of Boeboe’s youngest female leaders, which is quite an achievement as the majority of leadership positions being held by men. In the past, women’s participation in leadership was rare. Iulyn’s story highlights the gradual shift in people’s perceptions and recognition of women’s value as leaders.
Iulyn claims that her involvement in the program has alsogreatly benefitted her extended family, as the money generated from her honey production and managed through the savings club has allowed her family to establishalternative income streams. These activities includesetting up a fuel depot, selling custom medicine and baked goods to other members of the community.