| || || Misite'e, John Niroa.|
| || || Community leadership, social capital and rural development in Solomon Islands : a central Kwara'ae constituency study, Malaita Province|
Author:Misite'e, John Niroa.
Institution: University of the South Pacific.
Award: M.A. Development Studies
Call No.: Pac HN 49 .C6 M57 2008
Copyright:Under 10% of this thesis may be copied without the authors written permission
Abstract: This thesis intends to demonstrate that socio-economic development at the rural level in Malaita Province depends on two factors: leadership and good social relationships within and between rural communities. Development in rural Solomon Islands raises many complex social issues that influence its outcomes. Rural communities and people play a key role in determining how social issues and problems such as conflict between tribes, local political groups, communities and so on are dealt with. At present social issues and conflict between local groups are negatively affecting local level development. It is therefore believed that greater attention needs to be given to social relations and leadership to understand how communities can solve these problems which they are well placed to do. This research was guided by a key research question: How do Community Leadership and Social Capital influence Rural Development in Malaita Province? Two key objectives were proposed to be addressed in this research question: To identify the influence of leadership and the role community leaders play in rural community socio-economic development process and To determine the importance of social relationships to local development process and the role of community leaders in facilitating it. Five leadership dimensions of; vision, shared-vision, collaboration, communication and trust, and networking and strategic alliances were used in the research to measure the effectiveness of community leadership in rural community development process. A casestudy strategy was adopted with two rural communities in Central Kwara’ae, Malaita Province taken as the two distinct ‘cases’. Interviews and observational tools were used for collecting information. Thirty-three respondents were involved in the study with many identified as community leaders themselves. ii The study found that local people understood and recognized the importance of leadership in socio-economic development at the local level. It was also found that ‘collaboration’ entails the other four leadership dimensions used in the framework for this study and was important to be developed in an environment where there were multiple stakeholders with different views on development were involved in the process. It was also found that the effectiveness of community leadership is related to social relationships and participation in local development initiatives was related to strong social relationships as well as leadership itself. In overall social factors such as leadership and social capital are found to be important factors to consider in rural development discussions in Solomon Islands. The study concludes that rural communities in Central Kwara’ae would have to deal with poor leadership and social relationships which were shown to negatively influence development at the rural level. Areas for further research were suggested and implications for theory and practice were discussed in the conclusion of the thesis. iii