A media team from the Solomon Islands Social Accountability Coalition (SISAC) successfully completed a weeklong tour in the Western Province to capture issues faced by rural communities on healthcare access and effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Stories were gathered across communities in Simbo, Ranonga and North Vella to amplify and bring people’s concerns and demand for quality essential services.
Issues captured include some harsh conditions nurses are forced to work with, the extreme lengths rural residents face to access health facilities and services, and the rural impression of the government’s COVID-19 response.
According to team leader and Development Services Exchange (DSE) Chairman Inia Barry, the media coverage initiative is a unique approach by the civil society sector and probably the first of its kind.
“Our goal here is to be the voice or the voiceless. Our objective is to keep our responsible authorities to be accountable and transparent to everyone especially the rural services within the country. Our media team aims to respond to concerns or issues raised by the public by collecting the stories from the people directly from the ground.
“Some of the conditions of our health service in the rural areas is just unimaginable.”
Barry says the videos and stories compiled from the trip will be shared on their print and social media platforms.
He added SISAC is thankful to communities involved for taking part and hosting the media team’s visits.
“We also acknowledge the Western Province Health Department who have responded positively to our calls.”
The traveling team is made up of media workers from different civil society groups under SISAC.
SISAC is supported by the European Union through Oxfam in Solomon Islands and Solomon Islands Development Trust (SIDT).
SISAC was launched in February 2018 with a coalition of nine civil society organisations; Development Services Exchange, Forum Solomon Islands International, Young Women’s Parliamentary Group, Solomon Islands Development Trust, One More Shot, Honiara Youth Council, National Youth Congress, Solomon Scouts, PaCivic Initiatives and Oxfam with the shared objective to achieve transparency and social accountability.