Kokona comes to life with new water tank

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HONIARA, 22 JUL 2020 — Kokona community in West Guadalcanal celebrated a new era of accessing clean water supply, with the completion and opening of a new water tank.

Marking a new era for Kokona, Hon. Timothy Bobongi, right, is joined by Oxfam Reslience Program Manager Lorima Tuke and SIDT representative Joseph Major in the offical opening of the new water tank.

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Kokona community celebrated their new tank in a festival celebration.
Kokona Community leader Benditha Matesautu shares the hardships her people face every day just to access water.
The isolated mountain village, located 70km from Honiara, welcomed their newest development in an official hand-over ceremony
Excited Kokona children gather around their newest asset.

The isolated mountain village, located 70km from Honiara, welcomed their newest development in an official handing over ceremony with their working partners the Solomon Islands Development Trust (SIDT) and Oxfam Solomon Islands on Friday 17 July.

The 5,000 litres tank features a concrete foundation with an extended tap system – and accessible for all Kokona residents.

The initiative came following concerns that Kokona remained highly vulnerable to hygiene issues, especially at a time that requires more proactive steps in dealing with the COVID-19 global pandemic.

Kokona although have their history of the harsh conditions they face to access water. Women and children are forced to travel long distances down and uphill just for a bucket of water.

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Oxfam and SIDT were able to provide this assistance with help of the AP-LIFT project (Asia Pacific Learning, Innovation for Transformation) through Oxfam America.

“In Kokona, we work hard every day to survive,” says Benditha Matesautu, a community leader and president of the Kokona Women’s Savings Group.

Kokona community leaders took turns to acknowledge their milestone development in a festival-like ceremony as a traditional celebration for the handover.

“Our children, even though they are small, they can do things that you will not believe such as carrying up the hill big [water] containers.

“It’s very big thing we have now, this water tank,” Benditha acknowledged.

Also in attendance was the Guadalcanal Member of the Provincial Assembly (MPA) for Savulei Ward, Hon. Timothy Bobongi, who was given the honour to draw the first water drop.

“Kokona has been given a new start to life with this gift of water tank,” the MPA declared. “Thanks to Oxfam [and SIDT] who responded to this timely request.”

Hon. Bobongi says he believes the partnership involved with Kokona and the AP-LIFT project has flourished and he is confident of the capability of the Kokona community members.

Kokona is one of nine communities in Guadalcanal currently in partnership with SIDT and Oxfam through the AP-LIFT project that aims to improve the resilience of Solomon Islanders against disasters.

by Oxfam Solomon Islands

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