Women Make Waves leverages the power of surfing to drive change in the critical areas of women's empowerment and advancing gender equality in the Western Province. Photo credit @ Western Solomon Surfing Association
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THE Women Make Waves program, a transformative sport-for-development initiative, has officially launched in Solomon Islands, aiming to empower women and promote gender equality through surfing. Supported by the Australian Government through the Team Up program, Women Make Waves harnesses the power of sport to drive meaningful societal change.

Women Make Waves collaborates with five key organisations, including SurfAid, Western Solomon Surfing Association (WSSA), Australian Volunteers Program, Family Support Centre (FSC), and Solomon Islands Planned Parenthood Association (SIPPA). These partnerships are crucial for achieving the program’s overarching goal of Empowering Women and advancing gender equality through surfing. By combining educational outcomes with surfing, the program uses sport as a tool to amplify the impact of its workshops and promote development principles.

Central to the mission is the WSSA, the implementation partner, which works with local schools, communities, and program partners to deliver gender and women’s health education, support for survivors of gender-based violence, and initiatives to enhance gender practices and representation within the sport. The program is committed to creating safe spaces for women and girls, promoting positive relationships between genders, and showcasing women’s capabilities to help them take their rightful place in society.

Photo credit @ Western Solomon Surfing Association

Women Make Waves is a child safe program. Child protection and safeguarding are a priority, with staff and volunteers undergoing screening and training. The program also employs a designated child protection officer to uphold relevant policies.

“We are proud to support Women Make Waves through the Team Up program, which shows our commitment to empowering women and advancing gender equality in the Pacific. This initiative not only promotes surfing but also drives meaningful change,” said Mr Rod Hilton, Australian High Commissioner to Solomon Islands.

The program recognises that no single organisation can address the program focus areas alone. By collaborating with a range of partners, Women Make Waves aims to effect socio-ecological change through programs like Surf for Equality and EmpowerHER School’s Programs, Make Waves Film and Conversation Events, Surf Therapy Programs, and the WSSA capacity building, the Empowerment and Leadership Program. These initiatives strive to create better access to surfing, womens health education, build relationships between men and women in the surfing community and create safe and inclusive spaces for everyone to participate in society.

Women Make Waves is supported through the Team Up program. Team Up is the Australian Government’s sport for development program in the Asia-Pacific. With more than 70 partners across seven Pacific Island countries, their programs are specifically designed to provide all people, regardless of gender or ability, the opportunity to realise their full potential through sport.

To learn more about how Women Make Waves is advancing gender equality and empowering women and girls, visit www.womenmakewaves.org

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