The Arnavon Islands are a group of four small islands in the South Pacific country of the Solomon Islands, sitting between Isabel and Choiseul Provinces.
The Arnavons are home to the largest population of the critically endangered Hawksbill Sea Turtle. In order to curb the dramatic decline of the Hawksbill, the Arnavon Community Marine Conversation Area was established stemming from a partnership between the national Solomon Islands Government, local provincial governments, other governmental bodies, three local communities of Kia, Katupika and Waghena, and many other non-governmental organizations.
As in any big challenge like this, this partnership had to navigate many difficult waters in order to get to their goal of saving the Hawksbill. It took acknowledging and appreciating multiple cultures, working across many groups with competing priorities, acknowledging and addressing real and perceived losses, and engaging local community members to become champions for the effort. While not an easy task, the first protected area was established in 1995, and the Hawksbill population is now on the rise.
Teresa and her husband spent from 1995-1997 in the Solomon Islands as Peace Corps Volunteers, assigned to an Area Council on Isabel Island.
The story also serves as an analogy to many stories we experience here in the United States as many people here are engaged in similar efforts to make real, lasting and large-scale change happen. We know from our own experiences how difficult it is to navigate the sometimes treacherous and difficult waters to meet goals, especially when working across multiple stakeholders.
We support individuals and organizations to work more effectively to transform systems and cultures through an adaptive leadership framework. Challenging individuals, groups, teams and organizations to stretch their leadership muscles and to have more difficult conversations often leads to transformative and more sustainable results.