A capacity-building workshop held in the Republic of Marshall Islands (RMI) is helping civil society and government officials better understand the concept of a people-centred approach and how to apply the concept to food security.

Organised by the Pacific Community’s (SPC) Human Rights and Social Development Division (HRSD) and Land Resources Division (LRD), the workshop was held from 03 – 04 March 2022 and is the result of an assessment conducted in the Marshall Islands in 2021 on food security and emergency governance frameworks. The assessment identified the need to inform and build the capacity of outer island focal points and food security stakeholders on the application of a people-centred approach in food security initiatives and responses.

A people-centred approach incorporates human rights, gender equality and social inclusion, and the relationship of people to their environment. SPC’s People-Centred Approach places people and their environment at the centre of development, planning, implementation, decisions, monitoring, and reporting. The approach consists of four pillars: human rights, gender and social inclusion, Pacific culture and environment sustainability. The approach is also informed by the cultural context in which services are delivered for sustainable development.

Randon Jack, Assistant Chief of Agriculture from the RMI Ministry of Natural Resources and Commerce highlighted the benefits of using a people-centred approach saying, “We need to consider the rights of the people as well as be inclusive of all the groups within the population when it comes to planning and implementing projects. It is important for food security because it helps us understand the needs of the people and whether the support we give them benefits all groups in the communities.”

While the term people-centred approach is relatively new, the actual use of people-centred strategy development comes from practices which have proven successful across the region in the past. By committing to integrating this approach in a more systematic way policies, activities and projects will be better understood, more relevant to the communities served and more widely supported.

Participants will use the learnings from the workshop to inform their actions and also begin conversations that will lead to stronger partnerships between government, civil society groups and communities. It is also expected that the workshop will help generate discussions that contribute to strengthening the engagement of community members such as women, youth, people with disabilities and farmers in the outer Islands.

Namar Nashion from the Marshall Islands Special Parents Association highlighted the positive impact of using a people-centred approach in the communities who needed the service. “The workshop gave me an idea of how I could assist people living with disabilities to be involved in the community. It’s important because we can understand better the discrepancies at the community level.”

HRSD, through the North Pacific Food Security Governance Project (NPFSGP), will mainstream a people-centred approach to addressing food security in the context of COVID-19 in the Federated States of Micronesia, Palau and the Republic of Marshall Islands, and implement activities to support governance efforts to ensure food security management and COVID-19 response mechanisms are people-centred. The NPFSGP is supported with funding from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) with the generous support of the American people.

This story was originally published at SPC on 23 March 2022, reposted via PACNEWS.

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