23 August 2019
A request for the Solomon Islands government to initiate a directory for Solomon Islanders to source information on the sources and availability of small scale grants for community projects.
I created and launched my website – www.solomonisandsinfocus.com to give information on happenings and progress in the Solomon Islands, but with a deeper commitment to help create economic opportunities, enhance long-term environmental suitability and strengthen local communities as far as possible.
My value approach has been complemented by my partner charity organization in New Zealand, ‘Take My Hands’ and with others to try and bring about change for the better in the lives of Solomon Islanders, especially those needing medical services and material support, such as the Hearts of Hope charity working with orphans and elderly widows in Malaita.
I have often felt handicapped when being approached for advice on how one might source information on grants and funding for community projects, such as providing a village water supply, creating a food garden, getting information on scholarships and obtaining employment, qualifying for CITREC sponsored work being a constant enquiry.
Whenever I get any news in support of such approaches from Solomon Islanders I write to the local papers and generally post the details on my website.
As I do my work voluntarily, as a friend of the Solomon Islands, I have no connection with the Solomon Islands government or the respective Ministries and I would therefore like to make a request that the new DCGA administration consider making available locally an official directory, in the form of guidelines, for local people to be able to readily access information and sources for answers to the questions most often referred to me.
Requests for information on grants for community projects represent the most frequent notices I get.
The most recent enquiry related to funds needed for a village water supply to enable the community to benefit from ground water sources and to help with food production and the growing of products that could help to bring in a source of income.
Apart from knowing of the major sources of funds for water and WASH programmes from the World Bank, the ADB, World Vision, UNDP and the UN, I was not able to pinpoint any NGO, organization or donor source to my correspondent.
I was able to tell of the major source of water funding that was announced by the World Bank in May this year and it is worth, I believe, in sharing that information as it was released by the World Bank.
I will quote the piece:
“May 16, 2019—Thousands of communities across the Solomon Islands will benefit from improved access to quality water and sanitation services, following approval of a grant for US$15 million (SBD$122 million) by the World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors, as part of a joint project with the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
“Access to a continuous, quality and resilient water supply is vital for the health, safety and prosperity of Solomon Islanders,” said Hon. Harry Kuma, Minister for Finance and Treasury, Solomon Islands. “Guided by our National Water and Sanitation Sector Plan, we look forward to working with the World Bank and multilateral partners to expand our water supply and treatment improve sewerage and sanitation services and ensure Solomon Islanders have greater awareness and education around water issues.”
The Solomon Islands Urban Water Supply and Sanitation Sector Project will support Solomon Water to rehabilitate and expand water production and treatment systems across Honiara, Auki, Gizo, Noro and Tulagi; develop a new water supply system in Munda; and connect an additional 40,000 of Honiara’s most in-need people to a more efficient water supply network.
Additionally, the project will improve the quality and efficiency of sewerage and sanitation services, with the construction of a new septage treatment facility and upgrade of sewerage systems in Honiara, reducing public and environmental health risks from untreated sewerage and building climate and flood resilience. The project will also support community education and awareness of water conservation, sanitation and hygiene across the country’s main urban areas.
“We are delighted to share our global experience of water infrastructure investment, working closely with Solomon Water and ADB on this vital initiative, “said Michel Kerf, World Bank’s Country Director for the PacificIslands.“This project will not only improve water supply and sanitation services, it will also strengthen Solomon Islands’ resilience to climate change, supporting the introduction of best practice technology adopted by advanced water utilities around the world.”
“The project is co-financed by the World Bank, through the International Development Association (IDA) the World Bank’s fund for the world’s most in-need countries, the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the European Union through the Investment Facility for the Pacific (IFP) and the Solomon Islands.” Ministry of Finance and Treasury. The grant will be implemented by Solomon Water.
22 August 2019
Aiding the fight against breast cancer.
In about February 2016, I recall the National Referral Hospital (NRH) in Honiara was given help by two Australian medical specialists in running training sessions for local doctors on a then newly acquired mammogram machine that would be used at the hospital to detect breast cancer early in women.
Since 2016, with the aid of such a machine, the doctors at the NRH have stepped up their programme of breast screening and, no doubt, have saved many lives of women in the past 3 years.
I am not aware how the mammogram machine was first acquired but extremely appreciative that it was.
The contrast with the NRH and the situation at the Vila Central Hospital in Vanuatu is quite different and the hospital there has been struggling to acquire a mammogram machine for quite some time, trying to raise enough money to buy such an expensive machine.
I am pleased to be able say, however, that the situation might soon be resolved for, today, Radio New Zealand gave news that Morocco's Ambassador to Vanuatu, Karim Medrek, has assured a committee raising funds to buy a mammography machine that it will help.
Now Mr Medrek, who is based in Canberra, has said he will help to make sure that the machine is purchased and sent it to the country within two months.
I am sure all would wish to thank H.E. Ambassador Karim Medreck for aiding the Vila Central Hospital with a machine like the one that has proved so beneficial at the NRH.
Disaster aid needs to target vulnerable - UN Women
Quoting Radio New Zealand – 22 August 2019
“An aid worker who was deployed to Vanuatu after the Ambae volcanic eruption says the diverse needs of those affected need to be factored into disaster response plans.
“Gender and protection advisor for UN Women in Vanuatu, Nim Khuman, said a disaster response should assess the needs of different groups, especially those who are vulnerable.
“Women and girls are particularly at risk in these situations but disability, age, sexual orientation, income levels and location can also affect how people cope with disasters, she said.
"People think it's simply an act of delivering the service, but for example if food or water is distributed too far away, people with disabilities or the elderly or children, who are often tasked with collecting these items - if it's too far away it's not safe, it's not accessible.
"So, we need to really think in any type of intervention that we do, are different groups in the community able to access these services and are we increasing the harm if we haven't planned and designed correctly?"
“It is also vital that women are consulted at all stages of a disaster response, Ms Khuman said.”
Copyright @ 2019, Radio New Zealand.
22 August 2019
Honiara: Volunteer youth project undertaken to help maintain cleanliness in the capital city.
It is greatly encouraging to have learned from reading the Solomon Star this morning, Thursday that youths from three communities in Honiara yesterday conducted a clean-up of the underpass between the ITA Hardware and Central Plaza.
I offer my congratulations to Ms Alice Erik, the youth programme manager, and to all the young people involved in the intensive clean-up activities.
The Honiara Lord Mayor, Mr. Wilson Msaemae, is also thanked for the part he and the Honiara City Council played in calling for Honiara to be a “liveable city.”
Quoting from the Solomon Star Lachlan Eddie had said:
“More than a hundred youths came out in numbers to clean and scrub the underground walkway which has been covered with dirt, betel nut stains and various graffiti.
“There were lots of plastics being collected which had been littered by people passing through the tunnel over the past months which had not been collected.
“Youth program manager Alice Erick said the cleanup of the underpass was part of an activity planned by the youths to help beautify the city.
“She said engaging the youths in such activities was important so that they could contribute and make an impact in the city through their work.
“The activities are important to engage youths in helping the community and the city rather than involving in anti-social criminal activities that deface our country from developing,” she said.
“Ms Erick added such projects are important to shape the youths to be good citizens of the nation while developing good behaviour.
“A fortnight ago the youths conducted similar community service work through an exchange exercise.
“This had involved youths from Borderline conducting a community clean-up in White River while White River youths also did the same at Borderline.
“We have received feedback from communities that expressed appreciation for such community work,” she said.
“Ms. Erick said the two implementing partners were the Honiara City Council (HCC) and Young Women Christian Association (YWCA).
“The other key stakeholders were the Ministry of Women, Youth, Children and Family Affaires.
“She also acknowledged other key stakeholders that had also support the youths.
“Last week the youths joined international youth week celebration at Multi-Purpose Hall.”
Thanks to all and, again, well done!
22 August 2019
Solomon Islands: Management of solid wastes and pollution reduction
This week I wrote about the laudable work being done in Honiara’s ward 9 by Councillor Robert Oge in coordinating the collection of solid waste and educating his community on the importance of keeping the environment clean and free of rubbish.
I also mentioned the splendid efforts in five Honiara schools trying for 10 weeks to replace single-use plastic in their lunch services through a new waste management initiative.
The initiatives underway reminded me a meeting that took place in Nadi, Fiji, in May this year when representatives from 15 Pacific Islands gathered to discuss a framework proposed by the European Union on how to reduce the production of, and improve the management of, hazardous wastes, solid wastes and waterways impacted by solid waste.
The Solomon Islands will host the next Pacific Games in 2023 and it has been said there will be a ‘clean-up’ of Honiara in preparation for the Games, but despite the good efforts of the Honiara City Council in collecting household waste there continues to be rubbish being disposed of by some citizens that disregard the necessity of keeping the city clean and free from pollution, especially in the local streams and in the Mataniko river.
A public campaign to help citizens better understand the necessity of a clean environment and how to dispose of household waste seems to be needed.
I had read that in China the municipal authorities in several cities had conducted campaigns to educate the public on proper waste disposal and incentives for disposing of household waste appropriately had led to them being given “green card”which could be exchanged for simple household products, presumably things like soap, brooms, cleaning materials etc.
Returning to the events that took place in Nadi, I found this reference via the internet, from which I will quote.
“Pacific island countries face significant risks to their environment and human health as a result of poor waste and pollution management. Many countries in the region lack the appropriate infrastructure, legislation, and personnel needed to adequately manage waste and pollution. Continued poor management of wastes is likely to start negatively impacting tourism, fisheries and agricultural industries.
“To respond to this challenges, in Feburary this year the European Union signed a EUR 16.5 Pacific - European Union Waste Management Programme (PacWaste Plus) with the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP).
In his opening remarks, the Team Leader of Climate Change, Energy, and Circular Economy of the Delegation of the EU for the Pacific, Mr. Adrian Nicolae said that, “despite many recent achievements, more is needed for our Pacific island countries to deliver the vision of the Cleaner Pacific 2025 strategy. Based on the lessons learned from the previous Pacwaste project, which focused on hazardous waste and finished in 2017, PacWaste Plus is a much more ambitious and comprehensive project. It takes a broader approach, looking across eight different waste streams at data availability, legal framework and capacity building to deliver good waste management practices across the Pacific Island Countries.”
“The EU-funded PacWaste Plus Programme will work to support Cook Islands, Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Fiji, Republic of Marshall Islands, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu on building the capacity of Pacific islands to manage their waste issues in an environmentally sound manner. It will also work to assist countries to improve data collection to inform decision making; strengthen legislative and policy frameworks; incentivise public and private partnerships in the waste sector; and build the capacity of governments, industry and the community to reduce waste generation, and effectively manage wastes that are generated.
“SPREP and its members have long held the vision that the Pacific should be a region where human health and the environment are not threatened by waste, and in particular hazardous and toxic waste and chemicals,” said Dr Vicki Hall, Director of Waste Management and Pollution Control Programme at SPREP during her opening remarks. “PacWaste Plus, in partnership with other regional waste management and pollution control programmes operating throughout the region, is one project that will help this vision be realised, and we’re grateful for the continued support from the EU.”
“The PacWaste Plus Programme builds on the work already undertaken by the EU funded PacWaste Programme, which was implemented by SPREP and it supports the delivery of actions outlined in the Pacific Regional Waste and Pollution Management Strategy 2016-2025 (Cleaner Pacific 2025).The programme, once successfully implemented, will generate improved economic, social, health, and environmental benefits for Pacific island countries and their communities.”
As the the PacWaste Plus Inception Meeting was designed to empower the participating countries to actively engage in the project’s design, I would be interested to know how the Solomon Islands has progressed in strengthening waste management policies and practices locally with support from SPREP, as backed by the EU.