Vanuatu has a predominately rural population spread throughout many islands, and as a result, water and sanitation are limited in many of these areas. Our small island is no exception. The aid post and primary school, along with our village, have limited water access. The community has tried to improve their water access for over 20 years now but with little success due to insufficient funding. The village currently utilizes three wells with brackish water and a few rain tanks. There are three functional rain water tanks that serve as the school’s one and only water source. The aid post only has a small 500L rain water tank. A couple months into the dry season, the rain water tanks will have long since dried up. At that time, we will have no access to fresh water. The Water Committee has already identified a fresh groundwater source, which will supply water to the school, the aid post, and our village. The borehole already exists, along with two community water tanks. What remains are the purchases of the solar pump, the materials that will be used to create a platform for the pump, and the pipes for directing the water to the three areas.
Our Solar-Powered Water Supply Project will promote water security for our small island community of about 800 people. This project is also part of a bigger community effort to improve Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) in school, as well as to build-up the capacity of the aid post.
The community leaders took the initiative and formed a Water Committee to work with the Peace Corps Volunteer to discuss their need for clean, fresh, running water and to obtain funding for the water project. The six-person Water Committee composed of skilled members and leaders of the community specially designed the layout of the system, and will be responsible for planning, setting up, and maintaining the water project. The committee communicated with the rest of the community during community meetings on the importance of sustaining and maintaining a water system that will not only educate but also improve the health of the people of Pele.
The community has tried to improve their access to water for over 20 years now but with little success due to insufficient funding. With this opportunity to make the water system a reality, both the Water Committee and members of the community are committed to sustaining and maintaining this system. The committee’s treasurer will be responsible for the monthly water fee collection. The money would fund the upkeep of the water system. Workshops will also be held in the community, the aid post, and the school on proper hygiene and sanitation practices. The community is currently working on forming a school WASH committee, and the school has expressed interest in forming a school WASH club.