Stories written by Catherine Wilson

Idyllic Island Confronts Bloody Past

Anguish over the whereabouts of loved ones who went missing during a five-year civil conflict that ended a decade ago continues for countless families in the Solomon Islands. Searching for the remains of those who disappeared is vital to enduring peace in this culturally diverse south-west Pacific island nation of 550,000.

Corruption Smothering Pacific Students

External interference in the awarding of tertiary scholarships in Pacific Island nations such as the Solomon Islands is denying some of the highest achievers among the young an opportunity to contribute to the future of their country and the region.

Eye Disease Sweeps Pacific Islands

For generations, eye diseases have taken their toll on Pacific Island peoples. Now the first nationwide survey in the Solomon Islands of Trachoma, which can lead to irreversible blindness by early adulthood, is revealing the silent penetration of this disease in widely dispersed Melanesian rural island communities.

Solomon Men Learning Wisely to Respect Women

In the Solomon Islands in the south-west Pacific, where two in three of the estimated female population of 252,000 have experienced physical and sexual partner abuse, recognition is growing that ending the cycle of violence cannot be achieved without the partnership of men as catalysts of change. And initiatives by men are gaining support.

The Medicines Are Fake, the Illnesses Real

Reports of fraudulent medicines in the south-west Pacific island states of Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea have drawn attention to the need for more public awareness of the lethal trade and its tragic consequences.

Killer Smoke Blows Through Pacific Islands

Governments in the Western Pacific Islands, believed to be home to a third of the world’s smokers, have begun a long battle with the growing crisis of non-communicable diseases. Such diseases currently account for 75 percent of the region’s fatalities.

Australian ‘Outsourcing’ of Refugees Challenged

The Australian asylum policy of rejecting boat arrivals has been condemned by the United Nations Refugee Agency, Pacific island leaders, migration experts and human rights organisations.

The Classrooms Are Full – but the Students Can’t Read

Many Pacific Island nations are celebrating the success of rising school enrolment rates, with 14 members of the 16-member Pacific Island Forum on target to meet Millennium Development Goal 2: achieving universal primary education by 2015.

No Quick Fixes to Sorcery-Related Violence

Following worldwide outrage over a spate of brutal sorcery-related murders in Papua New Guinea, the government has rolled out a new hard-line approach to spiralling crime in this southwest Pacific island state.

The Future of the Pacific Ocean Hangs in the Balance

The immense scale of the Pacific Ocean, at 165 million square kilometres, inspires awe and fascination, but for those who inhabit the 22 Pacific island countries and territories, it is the very source of life. Without it, livelihoods and economies would collapse, hunger and ill-health would become endemic and human survival would be threatened.

Local Communities Invest Money – and Hope – in Ecotourism

Forty-five-year-old Serah Kei began building her artificial island and eco-lodge resort 26 years ago in Langa Langa Lagoon, located on the Solomon Island’s Malaita Province, about four hours by boat from the nation’s capital, Honiara. Kei, a single mother, paid for the construction by undertaking the laborious task of making and selling ‘shell money’ and finally opened Serah’s Lagoon Hideaway, which accommodates up to twelve visitors, in 2006.

Courage to Combat Domestic Violence

Selina, a resident of a small community in Malaita, the most populous province in the Solomon Islands, watched in horror as a man standing on the road in front of her house tore the clothing off his wife, then beat her and inflicted wounds with a knife.

Dengue Outbreak Highlights Poor Waste Management

City and health authorities in the Solomon Islands, located in the southwest Pacific Ocean, are calling for effective and consistent urban waste management as they battle to control a serious outbreak of dengue fever, the world’s fastest spreading vector-borne viral disease, which was identified in the country in February.

Climate Change Makes Life Tougher for Solomon Island Farmers

Life is difficult enough for communities on the remote southern Weather Coast of Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands.  Sustaining a livelihood from the land is a daily struggle on the steep coastal mountain slopes that plunge to the sea, made worse by the absence of adequate roads, transport and government services. And now, climate change is taking its toll on the already precarious food situation here.

Where the Sea Has Risen Too High Already

The deceptively calm waters of Langa Langa Lagoon on the west coast of Malaita Island in the Solomon Islands is home to thousands of people who have lived on artificial islands for centuries. For generations the islanders in this south-west Pacific nation have employed tenacity and ingenuity to maintain their existence on these tiny low-lying man-made atolls, devoid of freshwater and arable land. But climate change is now the greatest threat to their survival.

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