The Project

The Diocese of Gizo, one of three Diocese within the Solomon Islands has requested a Palms participant to support rural development through increasing vocational educational opportunities.  The role will include supervising and delivering vocational courses in Bee Keeping and Poultry & Piggery Management at the Rural Training College in Vanga, Solomon Islands [120 student enrolments].   RTC’s play an important role in the Solomon Islands educating youth from rural areas in practical vocational skills that allows them to stay in rural areas rather than moving to more urban areas.

The Location

The Diocesan Rural Training Centre is located in Vanga Point on the rural Kolombangara Island. It is a 1-hour open water boat ride to the nearest town – Gizo. Gizo is the capital of the Western Province in Solomon Islands. With a population of 7,177, it is the second largest town in the country. It is situated on Gizo Island approximately 380 kilometres west-northwest of the capital, Honiara.

The Challenge

The livestock sector is a pillar of the global food system and a contributor to poverty reduction, food security and agricultural development. There is wide scope to improve livestock sector practices so that they are more sustainable, more equitable and pose less risk to animal and human health. Rural Solomon Island population mostly work in subsistence farming, fishing, and artisanal forestry.   In Vanga the community and Diocese have identified that improving animal care and breeding in a sustainable way that takes into consideration care for the local environment provides a useful and important approach for the training of young people from local villages and throughout the overall Diocese.  The increased local market demand for honey creates another learning opportunity in bee-keeping to meet the demand.

Rural training centres provide young people living locally and more broadly to develop livelihood skills and income earning opportunities to support their families in a country with a fast growing young population and high youth unemployment.

About You

The Palms participant will have:

  • Knowledge and skills in sustainable livestock management that is sensitive to the environment effects that impact on the loss of forest cover, water quality and cultural heritage and conservation sites.
  • Knowledge and experience in beekeeping practices
  • Experience in mentoring teachers and young students
  • Adaptability and flexibility
  • Cultural sensitivity and openness to working within a different cultural context
  • Willingness to work in Vanga for a minimum of 12 months, with limited resources and facilities
  • Willingness to engage their Australian community in promoting the work of the host organisation and their role

How You Will Help

First you must be willing to learn from the local community.

Over the first six months you are asked not to change anything or suggest a change to operations.  During that six months you will take the time to learn language and cultural mores from a local counterpart willing to mentor you.  You will also start a register of the strengths of the current personnel and the assets in the community/country that might be used to achieve the goals of the assignment.

So questions to enable your learning from your hosts, not suggestions in ignorance of how things can improve. You need to commit to clarifying why things are done the way they are rather than presuming from you own cultural lens to outline what is missing.   Palms training will prepare you for this approach.

In the second six months you will be ready and better know which of your skills and what of your knowledge applies to:

  • environmentally sustainable animal husbandry and bee keeping practices
  • Mentoring and upskilling of teachers
  • developing and management of course delivery

Note: The monthly living allowance enables you to live a modest local lifestyle. Based on the cost of living in a particular country, it covers food, your daily commute, communication and other local costs. It is not set to enable you to meet financial commitments at home, such as a mortgage or a personal loan.  It will not cover the costs of eating out and other entertainment. Read more about what is covered in our FAQ.

To find out more, please contact Lalena Graham, Programs & Placement Coordinator on 02 9560 5333 or at [email protected].

Think you have what it takes? Register your interest

    I am not a citizen of Australia or New Zealand.I am a citizen of Australia or New Zealand.
    * Successful applicants must be available to attend an orientation course in Sydney. Palms Australia will not fund international flights and will not sponsor visas to attend this course. Read our FAQ for more.