To'abaita Authority for Research & Development (TARD)

[P.O Box 13, Honiara, Solomon Islands/ Email: Tel:+677 7424025]

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Thursday, December 14, 2006

To'abaita businessman funded community awareness meeting in North Malaita

Two members of the To'abaita Authority for Research and Development (TARD) have successfully convened a voluntary community educational awareness meeting in one of the renowned criminal areas in North Malaita on Sunday December 3, 2006.

The Leliana Daowana Firisua-funded community educational awareness meeting and coffee night was coordinated by Ishmael Alulu and Exsley Taloiburi at Gwaunasu'u Village near Loina where most of the founding commanders and rebels in the disbanded Malaita Eagle Force (MEF) have originated.

During and after the ethnic tension in Solomon Islands, there has been a general perception by outside societies that Loina area in North Malaita is one of the most criminal areas in Solomon Islands. Despite that, TARD felt it is not really accurate to label North Malaita as a "hot-spot" or "red-mark" and so on. It is only a few people in the society, which is common in any society, that are bringing a bad image to North Malaita, as most North Malaitans are good christians and law abiders. That was the reason why the recent community awareness meeting was held in a collective effort to restore a good image of North Malaita people.

During the community meeting, Mr Taloiburi and Ishmael Alulu highlighted the importance of abiding to the law; maintaining peace and harmony within the society, tribes, families and villages; importance of formal education whilst preserving our cultural identity; and readiness for developmental activities in terms of allowing land and other resources. After that, there was an open discussion whereby villagers were allowed to raise concerns and suggestions. The meeting was concluded with a coffee and tea session.

The TARD's community awareness meeting and coffee session which was attended by about eighty participants including chiefs, elders (both males and females), youths and children was kindly sponsored by a prominent To'abaita businessman, Mr Leliana Daowana Firisua. He donated SI$500 towards the first ever gathering at Gwaunasu'u Village. Therefore, TARD is very thankful for this kind assistance in expanding the goals of this student initiated group.

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