Preparing for disasters and empowering youth in the Solomons

The Solomon Islands Development program aims to holistically respond to the needs of communities through locally-led projects that focus on issues like social justice, disaster risk reduction, early childhood and adult education, and improved access to water, sanitation and hygiene.

Martina writing a nursery rhyme on her blackboard

About the program

This program aims to build the capacity of the Diocese of Auki and the Archdiocese of Honiara to undertake development programs. The focus is on increasing community resilience by developing local knowledge on social justice and encouraging greater community participation in water, sanitation and hygiene, education, and disaster risk reduction..

Martina with studetnts

As part of this program, Caritas introduced a wristband and ball program to help the young people understand four themes of catholic Social Teaching: Peacebuilding, Leadership, Environmental Stewardship, and Gender Equality. To date, more than 6,000 young Solomon Islanders have been introduced to these community formation themes, giving them insight for improving their contribution to their communities.

The program includes working with schools and communities to develop disaster risk reduction (DRR) strategies. The program uses nursery rhymes, role-playing and games to playfully develop young children's understanding of emergencies and what they need to do when emergency strikes. It includes teacher training and curriculum materials developed with the knowledge and support of the Ministry of Education and the National Disaster Management Office. The program gives teachers, children, their parents and the surrounding communities knowledge about:

  • The type of risks present in their community.
  • The warning signs for tsunami, cyclone, landslides and earthquakes.
  • What to do when a disaster is occurring.
  • Identification of school evacuation points.

Children adapt well-known tunes using lyrics that describe what to do in the event of a disaster such as a cyclones, flood, earthquake or tsunami. This highly successful program has been expanded to Vanuatu.


Martina's story

Songs and rhymes are important teaching tools. You might have learned the days of the week and numbers through songs or rhymes. In the Solomon Islands, believe it or not, nursery rhymes are helping to save children’s lives.

Martina's inspiring story »

Program details

  • Issues: Disaster risk reduction
  • Partner Agency: Archdiocese of Honiara and the Diocese of Auki
  • Funding in 2014/15 financial year: AU $50,000
  • Geographic location: Malaita Province, Central Province, Makira/Ulawa Province, Guadalcanal Province.