World Vision Solomon Islands
article • Tuesday, May 12th 2015

Clean water for tsunami survivors

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Residents of Nea enjoying water once more after their water supply system was repaired. Photo Rolland Gito/World Vision

Grant project name: Temotu Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Recovery Project
Funded by: UNICEF and World Vision Australia
Time frame: 2 years (August 2013 - April 2015)

Purpose and Objective: Lack of access to a safe water supply and improved sanitation is the cause of many preventable water-borne and water-shed diseases like diarrhoea, and skin and eye infections. Some of these illnesses can lead to death, particularly in children under five years of age. World Vision Solomon Islands has identified key focal problems that are contributing to the increased rate of water-borne and water-shed diseases and are addressing these problems. 

The project reached more than 4,000 people in 29 communities and schools on Santa Cruz. This enabled children and families to have access to safe drinking water and sanitation facilities and practice improved sanitation and hygiene behaviours.

The Temotu WASH project works within existing WASH paradigms to develop community solutions that are unique to each of the target communities particularly around sanitation and hygiene.  This customised approach is assured due to the low subsidy approach being taken through the Community Led Total Sanitation method (CLTS) model.  WASH stakeholders in Temotu have been involved in the project at each major step and are making sure that the project is making the most of a dynamic WASH sector.

MEET A YOUNG WOMAN BENEFITTING FROM THIS PROJECT:

Turning to coconut milk and rainwater saved in containers whenever the rain polluted her family’s main source of water, Mary Molik knew these were short-term solutions.

For years, the 14-year-old walked the two kilometres to the only accessible stream to fetch water for her family, who live in Salikte, a coastal village on Santa Cruz Island on the eastern edge of the Solomon Islands.

Pointing at the stream everyone in the village depended on for water with which to drink, cook, wash and bathe, Molik says: “The water was muddy when it rained, so we stopped getting it from here.”

“In the past, we often suffered from diarrhoea and skin and eye infections,” the teenager continues. “And sometimes the water smelled bad, so we didn’t use it for cooking.”

Molik’s mother, Catherine Eadu, says: “Using dirty water had a significant impact on our health. And fetching it affected our children’s education because they spent time walking to the stream every morning and evening.”

Today, Molik and the other villagers no longer worry about diarrhoea or other waterborne diseases thanks to a World Vision project to install a 10,000-litre tank to collect rainwater for the whole community.

Responding to the 2013 tsunami that destroyed homes, livelihoods and lives across Temotu province, World Vision has installed rain-catchment tanks and gravity-fed supply systems to provide access to water to over 4,000 people in 29 communities, while also creating sanitation facilities and championing more hygienic behaviours.

Molik says: “Now we drink clean water we get right on our doorstep. Because we have the tank, we don’t have to walk to the stream ... [and] I have time to get ready for school.” The teen explains that the water tank means she has more time and energy to concentrate on her schoolwork.

In partnership with UNICEF through funding from the Europian Union and World Vision Australia, World Vision Solomon Islands has conducted a two-year project to provide communities and schools in Temotu province with access to clean water and improved sanitation since 2013.

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