To'abaita Authority for Research & Development (TARD)

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Monday, August 20, 2007

RAMSI's community outreach to Malu'u yields widespread support from North Malaita people

by Jeremy Miller

Thousands of people have taken time out during the Malu’u Mini Trade Show and Second Appointed Day celebrations to visit RAMSI’s Community Outreach stall.

The Regional Assistance Mission’s Outreach Coordinator, Chris Tarohimae, said the response from the people of North Malaita was very positive.

“The aim of our Outreach program is to go into rural areas and talk to people about what RAMSI and the Government are doing in partnership and to give people the chance to ask us any questions they have about the mission and how it affects their lives,” Mr Tarohimae said.

“Visiting North Malaita for the Second Appointed Day was the perfect chance for our Outreach team to have this direct contact with as many ordinary grass roots people as possible.”

There were many different and exciting activities at the RAMSI stall. People could take information papers about the work of RAMSI and the Government in Malaita and across Solomon Islands, provide feedback at the Talem RAMSI suggestion box, or watch the new RAMSI video – Changing Lives.

But Mr Tarohimae said what people liked most was the chance to talk face to face with one of the 17 RAMSI civilian, police and military personnel representing six of the 15 countries of RAMSI.

“While many people had seen RAMSI police advisors at the Malu’u Police Post and soldiers on patrol, they were surprised to find out about RAMSI's civilian program which works in partnership with the Solomon Islands Government in three areas: Law and Justice, Machinery of Government and Economic Governance and Growth”, Mr Tarohimae said.

“The second thing people are surprised to see and meet are the Solomon Islanders working with RAMSI in these areas”, he said.

The Talem RAMSI suggestion box received over 160 letters from people across North Malaita.

RAMSI Assistant Special Coordinator and Director of the Outreach Program, Masi Lomaloma, said the overwhelming majority of feedback was very positive about the work of the mission.

“People are telling us that they support the work we are currently doing – particularly in the area of law and order. However people still face many challenges and hardships. Issues like kwaso are having a negative impact on many people’s lives and they want something to be done about it”, Mr Lomaloma said.

Mr Lomaloma said the Outreach program was developing a schedule of visits to every province.

“While it takes time to visit rural communities, it is important for all stakeholders - RAMSI, Government staff working with RAMSI and grass root communities to meet each other and discuss important issues.”

Source: RAMSI

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