The Kolombangara Forestry Products Limited prides itself on providing equal employment for both men and women.
Meet some of the women working there now.
Wendy Melenamu is KFPL’s Research officer. She is 31 years old from Kolombangara in the Western Province, Choiseul Province and Papua New Guinea.
She started working at KFPL in 2007 after she finished school at Goldie College in the Western province. Later under KFPL’s sponsor, she was able to attain a certificate in Forestry at the Solomon Islands College of Higher Education now known as the Solomon Islands National University.
Mrs Melenamu went back and worked for three years at KFPL as a quality control officer.
She applied for another scholarship in 2011 and was accepted into a degree program at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand. After she graduated she came back and worked again at KFPL, this time as a planning officer.
She resigned some time later. In October last year she returned to KFPL in her current role, a research officer.
“We deal with tree improvement. Right now we’re focusing on Acacia Magnum and Eucalyptus deglupta. It might take us three to four years before we come up with the best trees.
Mrs Melenamu explains, “In forestry, the most important thing is that we have the best trees. That’s where the money comes in.”
Mrs Melenamu said KFPL has helped her grow, “It gave me a scholarship. It also taught me how to ride a motor bike and drive a big dam truck,” she smiled.
Grace Piqe is the only female contractor at KFPL and she’s now in her third week.
The 56 year old widow is from Vella island in the Western Province was married to a man from Kolombangara. She has five children and 13 grand children.
“I have seven people on my team. My aim is to earn money to complete building my house. My husband passed away and I have to earn money for myself.”
Mrs Piqe said the work is not difficult.
“Its only brushing. And the sooner you finish your compartment, the sooner you receive your cheque. If you delay, the money is delayed.”
Her team has completed one hectare of trees. They have 15 more hectares to complete.
Patricia Tezo has been working in the KFPL nursery for 11 years. She is from Kolombangara island and married with three children
Mrs Tezo works with seven other women in the nursey.
“We do cutting of acacia and pricking eucalyptus. We also do spacing for the nursery trees and bulking before they are transferred to the plantations.
Mrs Tezo said she enjoys her work.
“I live a short distance away from the nursery. So every morning i just walk up here.Working at the nursery has supported my family’s needs.”
By: Kikiva Tuni