A pioneer of Plan International in the Solomon Islands, Emmanuella ‘Ella’ Kauhue has been the Country Program Manager at Plan International’s Honiara office since 2017. She was one of three team members at the beginning of her journey with Plan International, but three years on, Ella leads a team of five and has been instrumental in empowering girls in the Solomon Islands.
Name: Emmanuella (Ella) Kauhue
Job title: Country Program Manager
When you were a young girl, what did you want to be when you grew up?
“Interesting. I grew up in one of the most isolated areas in Solomon Islands. I do not have time to think about what to do when I grow up. My only role model at that time was my mother. I had a very clear picture of my mum and that without her our home would break apart. She worked very hard. There were times that as a little girl, I would think about how I could relieve her from working so hard. I often think about my dad and how he could assist my mother.
“Today, it dawns on me that although I was very young, I was beginning to realise that shared responsibility was critical and that both my parents should share equally the responsibilities in the home. Today that is exactly what I am doing. I am quite a very strong advocator, ensuring that both women and men are equal and have same opportunities to work etc.”
How did you first cross paths with Plan International?
“The advertisement for the position of Country Program Manager for Plan International Australia in Solomon Islands [was] out in the local media when I was working for the Office of the Australian High Commission to Solomon Islands in 2017. I was a Program Manager working with the privatesector.”
What are you most passionate about when it comes Plan International’s work?
“I have great passion for gender inclusivity, working with children and young adolescent girls. Seeing young girls being empowered and standing up with confidence to speak out to leaders about the issues that affect them. Seeing these girls being strong and believe in themselves and other young girls alike, makes me realise that what Plan International is doing in Solomon Islands is relevant and is making a difference to the lives of the most vulnerable group in the society.
“Building the capacity of local partners and learning from them about their work and their mission is another area that is very exciting. Although, there are challenges being able to work and walk together to achieve our common goals is an immense feeling of success. This is about people making other people’s life better. Strengthening that relationship and trust amongst different partner organisations also reveals what Plan International is about and the manner in which it works globally.”
What is your favourite thing about your job now?
“When I am simply talking to leaders and powerful people about issues on girls equality, when for them this is not an issue. When I am standing with children, young girls and other marginalised groups in the society and say together that we are here. We cannot go away, look at our issues and do something about them.”
What are you most excited to be working on at the moment or in the future?
“Extending beyond the boundary Plan International is working and reaching out to have more impacts on the lives of young adolescent girls and children whom no one has worked with before. Plan International is very good stepping out into the unknown and reaching new heights crating a space where others can follow.”
What is one change you’d like to see for girls in the Solomon Islands?
“Where young girls can jump up with confidence and say, look, we are at where we need to be.”