Priority issues were first identified through the focus group discussions, with participants then asked to rank them in order from most important (No.1) to least important.
All groups consistently ranked six issues as high priority; water, rubbish, customs & traditions, health, uncontrolled animals and natural resources. However women identified more strongly with health, family and economic issues, and the youth population with land issues (Table 1).
Table 1. Table of overall priority issues by leader / women / youth (all countries)
DECISION MAKING AND INFLUENCE
Participants were asked to record their perceptions of the influence or decision making power that a particular group or individual has on a specified issue from not very influential (#1) to highly influential (#5). Issues selected were those previously identified as high priority and hence were different between individual communities and groups: e.g. leaders, women and youth may have focused on different issues. The variation in literacy levels between groups and communities may have influenced the findings (see Appendix 1 for constraints and limitations).
Perceptions on decision-making and influence varied widely between communities, within communities and even within a particular group on a specific issue. However
community members, landowners and chiefs consistently featured as influential decision-makers. Individual Government Departments predictably featured closely related to issues around their core business.
In Solomon Islands
Chiefs, Community Members, Community Committees and NGOs were deemed influential in relation to most issues (Figure 4).
Figure 4. Summary of influential groups or decision makers for priority issues, Solomon Islands
The perceived level of influence was relatively consistent across each of the priority issues for the two participating communities (Figure 5) although some variation was elucidated through discussions, as outlined below.
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