By Timothy Inifir Jr.
International organisation Action On Poverty (AOP) together with The Solomon Islands Development Trust (SIDT) have yesterday launched the ‘Pacific Health and Sanitation Solutions’ project (PHASS) that aims in improving the quality of life and improved access to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services in Solomon Islands and Kiribati.
With the support from USAID’s Pacific American Fund target communities in the Solomon Islands involving seven communities within Western and Central East Guadalcanal, an estimated 420 direct project participants will be empowered to advance positive and acceptable behaviour towards improved health practices in terms of WASH, climate change and gender equality at the village setting.
Speaking during the launching, SIDT Executive Director Longden Manedika said, “Our partnership with AOP, the University of Technology Sydney (ISF-UTS) and our friends from Kiribati, we will be together in utilizing the resources we have, we are going to use some participatory learning tools that are developed over the years especially to the lack of context, we try and gather some local flavor into the empowerment”.
“The project will use evidence-based, field tested approaches such as Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) and Dynamic Adaptive Management Process tool (DAMP) and relevant locally designed learning tools relevant in both Solomon Islands and Kiribati.”
“The project will also build the capacity of local management structures and leadership to encourage enhanced household water storage and waste management. Schools will be targeted as hubs for community education to improve water safety and promote improved hygiene practices including Menstrual Health Management (MHM).
Mr Manedika also added, ” To ensure the longevity of the initiatives undertaken through the project, SIDT raise and engage with relevant government departments.”
With AOP working in collaboration with SIDT, Peoples of the South Pacific Kiribati (FSPK) and the ISF-UTS, the also seeks to improve access to safe, climate-resilient WASH for 1,920 beneficiaries in 18 communities in the two countries.
AOP International Program Director, Christine Murphy during the launch said, “The PHASS initiative is been made possible by the generous support of the American people to the Pacific island communities and importantly this support gives local organisations like SIDT and isolated communities access to their invaluable resources.”
“We expect this project to have a healthy impact on development outcomes in several ways, specifically USAID through the fund [have] supported AOP and our partners in targeting communities in both Solomon Islands and Kiribati to become more resilient to reduce open defecation, become more resilient to changing climatory managing with water resources in a way that improves health and supports livelihood”.
The Pacific American Fund through the USAID is a US $35 million five-year grant facility that addresses critical development challenges also across a total of 12 Pacific Island countries (includes Solomon Islands and Kiribati) with the grant value for the PHASS worth USD$850,000.
In his keynote address United States Chargé D’Affaires Russell Comeau says that he has many expectations from the project and how it will support the people of Solomon Islands.
“As a part of USA’s flagship, Pacific American Fund USD$35 million grant aims to improve the quality of life in vulnerable communities to get access to the services while living remote areas across the Pacific islands.”
Meanwhile, the fund awards on an open and competitive basis to qualifying local, local, national, and internationally operating civil society organizations including private small-and-medium enterprises, non-governmental organizations, universities and faith-based organizations.