Communities in Melanesia are often assumed to be immune from global shocks. This research project countered that wisdom, finding that the global food and fuel spikes affected 90% of households.
I worked with Professor Simon Feeny and Dr Lachlan McDonald to design and lead the study. Mixing quantitative and qualitative methods, the project involved 1600 household surveys, 75 focus groups, and 50 key informant interviews conducted in twelve communities across urban and rural Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands over two cycles of field work in three years.
I designed the qualitative research methods, trained sixty local researchers and co-authored book chapters and policy briefs. The project created a Pacific Islands measure of multi-dimensional poverty and made policy recommendations aimed at reducing vulnerability and building local resilience.
Simon Feeny and his team provide fascinating and important insights into how Melanesia’s people cope with the region’s high vulnerability to shocks of all kinds. A major contribution of importance to researchers and policymakers not just in Melanesia, but for those elsewhere in the world aiming to strengthen the resilience of households and national economies.
– Tony Addison, Chief Economist and Deputy Director,United Nations University’s World Institute for Development Economics Research (UNU-WIDER)