Australia boosts water sanitation access in Solomon Islands by providing funding to communities and schools in rural communities.
Australia has recently allocated funds to 13 communities in the Solomon Islands, marking a significant step towards enhancing water and sanitation facilities. Out of a total of 61 applicants, 13 successful projects were selected, benefiting various provinces across the country.
Selina Fioli, coordinator for Taba’a Parish in Malaita province, emphasized the dire security risks faced by women and girls due to inadequate access to water and sanitation. “At Taba’a, we have struggled for years without proper toilets, forcing women and girls to use risky alternatives like mangroves. Daytime poses challenges as well, as the mangroves are near the road and lack privacy,” Fioli explained.
Ellison, representing Mt. Olive in Malaita, expressed the profound impact of building an ablution block in the area. This development marks a significant step towards modernization for Mt. Olive, which had lacked basic sanitation facilities. “For the first time, children at Mt. Olive Primary School will have access to proper piped water and toilets, enabling them to maintain hygiene and focus on their studies,” Ellison remarked.
In Temotu province’s Santa Cruz, at Baenga Primary School, the absence of toilets has led to students occasionally skipping classes. These students are forced to use the sea for relief.
Karlson Kaekesa, based in Northwest Guadalcanal, emphasized the urgent need for proper water supply. With the assistance of the Australian funding, Karlson’s community plans to install a solar-powered pump and water tanks, providing access to clean water through standpipes. Karlson said its sad to see how people are struggling, to access the basic human right of water.
Jeffrey from Bellona highlighted the community’s reliance on water tanks, emphasizing the significant relief brought about by the borehole water supply project. Many of the grant recipients acknowledged their inability to secure funding from their government representatives, emphasizing their commitment to enhancing community well-being.
Sadly, a staggering 70 percent of the Solomon Islands population currently lacks direct access to clean water and toilet facilities. The recipients from the 13 communities expressed profound gratitude for the funding support.
Australian High Commissioner Rod Hilton reaffirmed Australia’s dedication to supporting small-scale infrastructure through community collaborations. He said Projects like these deliver clear economic outcomes for rural communities in Solomon Islands – for the short and longer term – and Australia is proud to support them. “There is strong demand for Australian funding for our small-scale infrastructure grant”, he said.
Minister for Foreign Affairs and External Trade, Hon Jeremiah Manele, along with other government representatives, witnessed the grant awards, highlighting the importance of these community-led initiatives.
Australia’s Community Partnerships Fund, a small grants program, plays a crucial role in improving living standards across the Solomon Islands. These projects address diverse needs of Solomon Islanders in rural communities. The 13 selected projects include:
- Bubumala: Borehole, solar-powered pump, and water tanks (North-West Guadalcanal Constituency)
- Wagina Community High School: Concrete footpath, drains, and solar lighting (South Choiseul Constituency)
- GS Faisi Technical Vocational School: Completion of a classroom building (East Honiara Constituency)
- Baenga Primary School: Ablution block (Temotu Nende Constituency)
- Duff Islands: Halevaka Canoe House (Temotu Vatud Constituency)
- Hatagua Community School: Community hall (Rennell and Bellona Constituency)
- Taubangibo: Borehole water supply project (Rennell and Bellona Constituency)
- Taba’a Parish: Ablution block and water tanks (North Malaita Constituency)
- Mt Olive Primary School: Ablution block and water tanks (North Malaita Constituency)
- Nukiki: Footbridge connecting communities (North-West Choiseul Constituency)
- Katova Community High School: Ablution block (Hograno/Kia/Havulei Constituency)
- Raeao: Community hall and resource center (East Are’Are Constituency)
- Horara: Climate change mitigation sea wall (Gao/Bugotu Constituency)