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Solomon Islands: Providing short-term employment for Honiara’s urban poor

Solomon Islands Rapid Employment Project
Rapid Employment Project

Approval Date: 2010

Closing Date: 2015

Total Project Cost: US$7.2 million

Donors: World Bank (International Development Association)—US$3.2 million
AusAID and New Zealand (through the Pacific Region Infrastructure Facility)—US$2 million
World Bank (through the State and Peacebuilding Fund)—US$2 million

Implementing Agency: Honiara City Council and the Ministry of Infrastructure Development

     Increase the income of urban unemployed through the provision of short-term labour. 
     Provide life-skill development training to increase knowledge of skills valued by employers, improving future employment prospects.
     Provide secondary benefits to targeted communities and Honiara as a whole through infrastructure and services provided.


    Solomon Islands faces a number of considerable economic challenges. The UNDP’s Human Development Index ranks the country 134th of 179 countries, and poverty within the capital, Honiara, is significantly higher than in rural parts of the country. It is estimated that one third of urban poor are living below the Basic Needs Poverty Line. Additionally, urban poor are much more reliant on cash incomes, have higher costs of living, larger families, and have lower levels of domestic food production. In June 2008, this situation prompted the government to make a request that donors present options to deal with increasing unemployment in the capital, which has led to the Rapid Employment Project (REP).


    The REP has two key aims. These are to help urban poor within the project to: i) increase income through short term employment; and ii) improve their knowledge, experience and skills that are valued in the workplace and will help in obtaining future employment. The project consists of two main components that work towards these goals.

    Component 1: Rapid Employment Scheme: This first component will create roughly 500,000 labour days of work over the five years of the project. The Rapid Employment Scheme will be providing short term, temporary employment opportunities to vulnerable urban poor. The scheme will be run by the Honiara City Council and the Ministry of Infrastructure Development and will focus on labour-based public works such as road repair, maintenance, foot path repair and construction, and garbage collection.

    Component 2: Life-Skills Development: This component aims to provide training and seminars for targeted youth within the Rapid Employment Scheme (which will be, roughly, 50 percent of participants). The information sessions will focus on topics ranging from workplace behavior, basic money management, health, and domestic violence.

    The Ministry of Infrastructure Development and the Honiara City Council will be the two main implementing agencies of the Rapid Employment Project with the Ministry handling road work associated with the project and the Council handling urban works and services. For road work projects, private contractors will work with community groups, while other urban works will be overseen by the Council and implemented by community and youth groups. The Council will also hire a training contractor to develop the life-skills development component.

    The project, worth approximately US$7.2 million, is being financed by the World Bank and the Pacific Region Infrastructure Facility (PRIF), which is supported by AusAID and the New Zealand Government.

    The REP is expected to benefit roughly 7,500 people, with at least 50 percent being youths, and will support equal gender participation. The REP will also provide secondary benefits for targeted communities and neighborhoods as well as the general urban population through the provision of infrastructure and services.


    The project will take place within Honiara.


     Project Details
     Project Documents 
     Download Project Flier (488kb pdf)


    World Bank Task Team Leader

    Sean Bradley
    Senior Social Development Specialist

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