On Saturday 12 December, the Ministry of National Planning and Development Coordination (MNPDC)) and the Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS) officially handed over water supply project worth SBD 75,000 to the Kobuana Community in the Central Islands Province with a population of around 60 people.
This was made possible through funding provided by the European Union (EU) through MNPDC and MHMS for the improvement of Rural Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (RWASH) cross the country.
In his remarks filled with joy, community elder and chair of the WASH Project Hudson Philie described the new water system as a God given gift.
“Accessing clean and safe water remained a major problem for the community and it has been our cry and prayer all along for such development to come to our community in past forty to fifty years. Today we are speechless and overwhelmed with joy because our prayers have been answered”.
He added, “We no longer need to paddle under the scorching heat of the sun across the sea to the main land to collect clean drinking water, our women, girls including children will no longer need to risk their lives in travelling that distance as water is now available right at our doorsteps. Thank you EU, thank you Ministry of National Planning and Development Coordination and thank you Ministry of Health and Medical Services as well as Central Provincial government and RWASH team. It is truly a joyous moment for us”.
MHMS RWASH Engineering Advisor, Mr. Peter Wopereis at the event stated that MHMS is very pleased with the completion rate and the quality outcome of the project. “Implementation of such projects is always difficult and often quite risky nevertheless the smooth completion of the project in just 3-4 months has proven that it was worth it and much of the success lies with all of you in this community. “The time and effort dedicated into supporting this project, which includes solar powered pumping from a newly constructed well, setting up of the storage tank on a nearby hill, laying of pipes and construction standpipes have all contributed significantly to the success of the project”, highlighted Mr. Wopereis.
Premier of Central Province Honorable Stanley Manetiva said the provincial government is honored to have supported and witness such an important development. “This is so because it is very much an integral part of our provincial government’s mandate that is to deliver and provide services to our people across the province. So on behalf of the province a sincere thank you to the European Union, MNPDC, MHMS and provincial RWASH team for provision and successful completion of this important project”.
The Premier also remind the community to have compassion and respect for the new water infrastructures so that it will continue to serve their water related needs today and onwards into the future. Delivering the key note address at the event, MNPDC Permanent Secretary and Deputy National Authorizing Officer for European Development Funds in Solomon Islands Ms Susan Sulu highlighted that water is a basic necessity and should be readily available to everyone.
“Nevertheless access to safe and clean drinking water is more of a privilege in Solomon Islands. The National Baseline Survey carried out in 2015 showed that only 54 percent of the population in the rural areas have access to basic water. Therefore, it continues to remain a top priority of the national government to enable rural communities to have access to clean and safe drinking water”.
“On this note I wish to acknowledge the funding support from the European Union that has enabled the government to work towards fulfilling this priority for our communities across the country. Today Kobuana community has access to readily available clean and safe drinking water”, stated Ms. Sulu.
She added, “The success of the water supply project very much stems from the strong partnerships and commitment between the European Union and the National and Provincial government, together with the commitment, sweat and hard-work of the community”.”.
Ms. Sulu concluded with a message to the community, “It is now in your hands, own it and take good care of your water facilities. I appeal to every single members of this community to ensure that it is well maintained and remains functional and continues to serve this community into the future”.
The official handing over was followed with presentation of certificates to the community’s WASH committee members who had completed trainings to ensure sustainability of the project and handing over of relevant water supply tools to the community.
Total project value is seventy five thousand Solomon dollars (SBD $75,000) and Kobuana community is amongst five other communities in the Central Province to have been selected for the water supply projects. Three other communities have already officially received their water supply this year and following the hand over to Kobuana community, another two more hand overs will be conducted next year for the completion of the project in the province.