The core of the culture of the Solomon Islands has always been the village, and this remains true today. SIDT’s moto is ‘Mifala Helpem Vilij Pipol’ or in English ‘we help village people.’
The Village Standup Strong Program (VSS) aims to promote self-reliance with people from the village to ‘standap strong’ (stand up for themselves) in terms of deciding community and development priorities. The program is a culmination of SIDT’s work over a 20 year period and through various program iterations and direct learning has become SIDT’s well known and respected signature program.
Using the VSS Approach, SIDT uses its Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) and Open Learning Tools (OLT) through a series training workshops to assist the village to appraise their own quality of life and to identify issues and address those issues through a self-directed Village Action Plan. Other skills are also developed along the way with workshops in effective proposal writing, effective meetings and restorative justice for where there are past problems that need to be healed within the community. The program culminates in a village forum to which provincial and national Members of Parliament are invited and where the village is able to present their village action plan.
For the past 5 years, the Pacific Leadership Program (PLP) have provided funding to take several villages through this program as well as funding to conduct follow up work such as revisiting past communities and providing ongoing referral assistance and networking to better understand and further improve the approach