Advocating for gender equality - Solomon Star News

Advocating for gender equality

03 November 2019

Bibao joins the show

LOCAL music artist Lester Kisina, who performs on stage as Bibao, is now using his singing and musical talents to inspire fellow youths nationwide with positive messages on the theme: ‘Women and Equality.’

The 30-year old of mixed Western Province and Ren/Bell parentage has signed up to be an Agent of Change with Oxfam International’s initiative; Side by Side Campaign, a campaign to raise awareness on Gender Equality and eliminate Gender based violence.  

As an Agent Of Change, Bibao is advocating through his songs, radio spots and by posting inspiring stories about women based on the ‘Women and Equality’ theme on Facebook. 

Gender-based violence is a problem that’s been identified by the World Health Organisation as one of the most significant consequences of gender inequality in Solomon Islands.

Bibao told PAOA FM’s Change-maker’s Programme that he’s excited about his role as an Agent Of Change because through it, he can effectively contribute to instilling a positive mindset in youths throughout the country and the general populace at large about the pressing issue of gender-equality.

“I’m extremely excited about being an Agent Of Change, especially in advocating for gender equality and the empowerment of women in our country.”

The Side by side Campaign launched in Solomon Islands in 2017 is a movement of young people working together to effect positive change by changing societal beliefs and attitudes towards gender-equality and gender-based violence.

Bibao’s passion for music started at a very young age and that passion was instilled in him by his elder brothers who were renowned musicians at that time.

“Music is something that runs in my family. I developed my passion for music at a very early age. 

“My elder brothers were talented musicians and they had a band back in those days known as ‘Eureka Band’. Over the course of time, I became a musician myself.”

Bibao released his first album in 2014 and it was a hip hop album he recorded with Hailey’s Entertainment studio in Honiara and three years later, he released a few singles with the Warriors Recording studio, a recording studio also based in the capital.

Reflecting on his childhood, Bibao who was raised in Honiara’s White River suburb spoke of the struggles he came through in life and which motivated him to be the person that he’s today.

“I was brought up in White River in West Honiara. The hardships of life were something very real to me but those challenges inspired me to strive to become the person I am today. 

“My struggles also helped me understand the real life situations faced by our youths, especially those in the urban settings.”

Bibao deems that young people with unruly behaviour should not be entirely blamed for such behaviour because not all bad human behaviours are intentional but are the consequences of family upbringing, societal and external influences.

 “People tend to solely blame youths for their bad behaviour without ever giving a thought that their behavioural problem may stem from other factors such as family problems and greater societal issues such as lack of educational opportunities and employment.

“Youths are restless and look for inspiration almost everywhere and when they don’t find that, they engage in unwanted activities due to frustration and to get attention,” he further remarked.

Bibao stated that as an Agent for Change, he wants to inspire change in young people using his own personal story to get them to also strive to ensure a meaningful life and moreover to understand and value the important contributions of women in society and the importance of empowering them as equal partners with the menfolk in development.

As part of his Agent for Change efforts, Bibao is looking at conducting a song-writing workshop for youths focussing on the theme gender-equality.

 “If everything goes according to plan, I will run a workshop for youths to train them to write songs. 

“This proposed song-writing workshop will be focussed on gender equality.”

The music artist also raised the importance of men actively involved in the Side by Side Campaign in order to make a greater impact in changing the mindset of the country’s male population about gender-equality and gender-based violence.

“Our menfolk need to actively involve themselves in this important campaign because I believe that men themselves will make a greater impact when it comes to changing the attitude of men towards gender equality and gender-based violence in our country.” 

Looking ahead to the future, Bibao stressed the importance of all Solomon Islanders working together to transform Solomon Islands into a society that embraces gender-equality and empowerment of women as crucial pillars to nation-building. 

The Change Makers program is a joint partnership between Paoa FM and Oxfam International. 

Paoa FM broadcasts the Change Makers series on Mondays at 9am, 3pm and 8pm.