Australia is working with the Solomon Islands Government (SIG), New Zealand and other donors to improve quality and access to education for all Solomon Islanders. Australia supports the priorities of the Solomon Islands national education action plan to deliver quality education throughout the country.
The three areas of focus for Australian support for education in Solomon Islands are:
- foundation skills in basic education—improving learning outcomes, especially early literacy and numeracy for all students
- skills for economic growth—increasing the number of Solomon Islanders with technical and vocational skills in areas of demand, and
- Australia Awards—enabling students to undertake tertiary study in Australia and the region, enhancing cross-cultural understanding through people-to-people links and building the capacity of people to contribute to economic and social development.
In the health sector, Australia works closely with SIG to ensure all Solomon Islanders have access to good quality basic health care. We prioritise spending to support maternal and child health, reduce the disease burden and strengthen the Solomon Islands health system to deliver essential medicines and better health services to communities. We will continue to support rural water and sanitation to build a foundation for a healthier population.
Australia's support to the health sector over the last decade has helped to save lives, reduce disease burden and improve productive capital in the Solomon Islands economy. Through Australian support Solomon Islands has achieved significant progress in population health: maternal mortality has reduced by two thirds, child mortality has reduced by half and malaria incidence has declined by 75 per cent. However, many challenges remain. Children are still dying from preventable diseases such as diarrhoea and pneumonia. The coverage of essential medicine vaccines is not universal, and access to water (54 per cent in rural areas; 80 per cent Honiara) and sanitation (13 per cent in rural areas) remains below the regional average.
Our funding for health programs is delivered through a sector wide partnership, led by the Solomon Islands Government, and supported by other donors, including the World Health Organization, UNICEF, UNFPA, World Bank, European Union, Japan and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community.
Education Sector Support Program
Up to $71 million, 2015-2019
The Education Support Program builds on high primary education enrolment rates to improve the literacy and numeracy of primary school students. Australia supported a Solomon Islands Government initiative to remove school fees and provide grants to schools, which is helping more than 150,000 young Solomon Islanders get an education.
Australia will also assist Solomon Islands to develop a new national qualifications framework and its own vocational and educational system with nationally and internationally recognised qualifications. Australia will also support skills training so that young Solomon Islanders will be better placed to get jobs.
Through the Australia Awards program, Australia offers 30 tertiary scholarships each year in Solomon Islands targeting human resource gaps. In 2015, half were awarded to women despite fewer women applying than men and seven women commenced study in traditionally male dominated fields of law, information technology and business systems. Priority areas are health, education, engineering and construction, economics, business, accounting and finance, information technology, law, agricultural science, fisheries and community/youth development.
Health Sector Support Program—Phase 3
Up to $66 million, 2016-2020
Australia's Health Sector Support Program (HSSP3) supports the SIG to deliver health services across the country that meet the needs of communities. Guided by the National Health Strategic Plan and its priorities, HSSP funds malaria and other disease control, maternal and child health activities, essential medicine supply as well as access to clean water, basic sanitation and hygiene awareness. Through targeted financing and advisory assistance, HSSP3 is helping increase management capacity and the financial sustainability of the public health system. A key aspect to HSSP3 is funding linked to the achievement of performance benchmarks which provides strong financial incentives for better health outcomes and health system management.
Addressing Gender Equality
Up to $1393 million, 2012-2017
Australia's 10-year regional initiative, Pacific Women Shaping Pacific Development (Pacific Women), aims to improve the political, economic and social opportunities of women in the Pacific. Activities in Solomon Islands include support to the Ministry of Women, Youth, Children and Family Affairs; improving the gender equality outcomes in all our programs; working with communities to prevent family violence; targeted research; and funding for the Solomon Islands Women in Business Association.
Activities funded through Pacific Women's regional funding supports UN Women's Markets for Change project as well as political leadership training opportunities for potential election candidates.