Honiara, Solomon Islands: Dr. Alice Pollard has been honored as the Solomon Islands nominee for the 2016 U.S. Secretary of State’s International Women of Courage Award. Dr. Pollard was honored as this year’s nominee in recognition of her work advocating for the financial independence and security of women in Solomon Islands.
Established in 2007, the U.S. Secretary of State’s International Women of Courage Award honors women around the globe who have exemplified exceptional courage and leadership in advocating for human rights, women’s equality, and social progress — often at great personal risk. U.S. Embassy Port Moresby honored Dr. Pollard during an award ceremony held yesterday, Sunday 17th April, at the the Heritage Park Hotel in Honiara.
U.S. Ambassador Catherine Ebert-Gray said she was thrilled to honor Dr. Pollard as the 2016 Solomon Islands nominee for the International Women of Courage Award. During her remarks at the award ceremony, Ambassador Ebert-Gray said, “Women’s lives have been greatly enhanced by the quiet, hardworking, visionary ideals of Dr. Alice Pollard. Dr. Pollard challenged prevailing attitudes and took risks to fight for women who too often lack someone who is ready to champion their cause.”
For almost 15 years, Dr. Alice Pollard served as the Director and Officer of Women and Development Division for the government of Solomon Islands. In that position, Dr. Pollard coordinated women’s issues, including policy development, training, communication and project management.
Following her tenure in the government, Dr. Pollard has served as a consultant on gender issues, leadership, social and economic services, community development, project reviews and government.
She established a group for rural women in South Malaita which offered training in business, leadership, and peace building. Dr. Pollard also initiated an investment saving scheme for women to earn interest on their money after negotiating such arrangements with the local bank. She also negotiated the ability for women to receive loans of $400-$800 which enabled them to pay school fees and enter into agriculture or other small business ventures.
In addition to promoting financial literacy and self-help, Dr. Pollard is a committed conservationist. Since 2012, a solar electrification program that she developed has seen 285 homes receive solar electrification and she continues to encourage women’s groups to expand this pilot program.