Clean Drinking Water, no longer a dream but a reality for the Worasiviu Community on Pele Island.

April 20, 2019

Vanuatu has a predominantly rural population spread throughout many islands, and as a result, water and sanitation are limited in many of these areas.

The small island of Pele is no exception. The Pele Aid Post, and Tangovawia Primary School, along with Worasiviu village, have limited water access and it’s been very hard especially during dry seasons.

Water Tank
Water distribution tank at Worasiviu Village, Pele

The community has tried to improve their access to water for over 20 years but with little success due to insufficient funding. With this opportunity to make the water system a reality, Peace Corps Health Volunteer, Lily and Worasiviu community members really came together to make this project a success. The community hosted a land agreement signing ceremony, a formal event that acknowledged the land rights of the water system.

The grant paid for the solar pump, solar panels, cement, pipes and transportation costs while the community contributed all the labor and the water tank.

Water tap
Peace Corps Country Director turning the water tap to officially open the water system

April 12 2019 marked the official opening of the solar water project which was officiated by Peace Corps Vanuatu Country Director, Ms Kelly Cullen. After a record breaking two solid months of dedicated hard work by the Worasiviu community, the solar water project has finally reached completion! “Instead of relying on wells with unsafe brackish water and a few rain water tanks, the community now has access to clean and safe drinking water”, said Lily with a smile.

Ms. Kelly Cullen in her speech, applauded the Worasiviu community members for their combined efforts in helping make an idea turn into a concept which now has become a reality and a dream come true. The Water committee responded by thanking Lily for assisting them in the project planning and implementation stages. The Paramount Chief of Pele, Chief Masarei, in his remarks, stressed on the importance of sustaining and maintaining the water system so that future generations could also benefit from this great achievement. The opening ceremony ended with a big feast, kava drinking and dancing.

Solar panels and water pump
Solar Water Pump installation

In the long run, both the Water Committee and members of the community are committed to sustaining and maintaining the system. A treasurer has been assigned to be responsible for the monthly water fee collection which will fund the upkeep of the water system. The committee has also started thinking about methods to preserve the longevity of the system and alternative plans if the system fails in the future. Not to mention, plans to increase the number of households currently connected to the system. Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) workshops will also be held in the community, aid post, and school. The community is currently working on forming a school WASH committee, and the school has expressed interest in forming a school WASH club.

In closing, Peace Corps Vanuatu congratulates Lily and her community on this spectacular, life changing milestone that has not only improved the access to clean fresh water for the people of Worasiviu but also has improved hygiene and sanitation standards.