AUSTRALIA has awarded its largest round of community infrastructure grants, totalling more than SBD4.7million across 22 projects in villages across Solomon Islands.
These project will make a positive impact on communities by providing infrastructure such as water tanks and sanitation facilities, community footpaths, community halls, and housing for teachers and nurses.
On Tuesday 7 November, Minister for Traditional Governance, Peace and Ecclesiastical Affairs Hon Samuel Manetoali, Minister for Justice and Legal Affairs Hon Clezy Rore, Leader of the Opposition Hon Matthew Wale, Hon Chachabule Amoi, Hon Bodo Dettke, Hon Sammy Galo, Hon Peter Kenilorea Jnr, Hon Claudius Tei’ifi, and Guadalcanal Provincial Minister for Women, Youth and Sports Hon Rose Tala witnessed community representatives from across Solomon Islands being awarded these grants for community infrastructure.
Australian High Commissioner to Solomon Islands HE Rod Hilton wished the new Project coordinators well in implementing their projects and expressed Australia’s long-term support for small-scale infrastructure through community partnerships.
High Commissioner Hilton said “I’ve seen first-hand the difference that the Solomon Islands-Australia Partnership can make to those living in villages in Solomon Islands, particularly through community infrastructure. I’m proud to have approved our largest grant funding round in our history, with twenty-two community projects across Solomon Islands being signed today. I’m happy to have increased the number of partnerships Australia has with communities, and I hope in the future we’ll increase them even more.”
These projects represent more than SBD 4.7 million in direct funding to villages across Solomon Islands. In addition to working with community representatives, Australia is proud to partner with Members of Parliament to co-fund projects in their constituencies, including with Minister Hon Samuel Manetoali, Hon Matthew Wale, Hon Peter Kenilorea Jnr, Hon Claudius Tei’ifi, Hon John Maneniaru, Premier Rhoda SIkilabu, and Provincial Minister Hon Rose Tala.
The successful projects are spread across various provinces and include:
- Community water tanks and sanitation facilities in South Choiseul, Northwest Guadalcanal, Northeast Guadalcanal, West Kwaio and Gao/Bugotu
- Community grounds in Hograno/Kia/Havulei, community halls in East Are’Are and Central Kwara’ae, and a women’s hall in Gao/Bugotu
- Community solar lighting facilities in Hograno/Kia/Havulei and at a health clinic in Temtou Pele
- Community foothpath and solar lighting facilities in West Are’Are
- Upgrades to a domestic violence centre in Aoke/Langalanga
- Staff housing at a school in North Malaita
- Staff housing at a health clinic in Marovo
- Primary school and Kindergarten classrooms in Gao/Bugotu
- Fencing around a Kindergarten in Gizo/Kolombangara and a primary school in Marovo
- An ablution block at a primary School in North-West Choiseul, and handwash facilities at 5 primary schools across North Vella La Vella
The project coordinators and other community leaders explained how this funding would impact their communities at the grassroots level. Sr Doreen Awaiasi, Project Coordinator of the Malaitan Christian Care Centre, said “Security fencing is an important priority for the Malaitan Christian Care Centre. Sometimes victims of domestic violence don’t feel safe staying with us because of the lack of security fencing around our premise. I’m so happy that we’ve received funding from Australia to improve our facility and make victims feel safer.
Ms Trypheana Gilbert, Project Coordinator of the Hovi Ligara Water Supply Project, said “this project will allow us to access clean and safe water in our village. We’ll be able to maintain and improve our water reserve and access water every day”.
Dr William Parairato, Project Coordinator of the Sisiomate Community Footpath and Solar Lighting Project, said “We don’t have an adequate footpath or lighting in our village in West Are’Are, so when it rains heavily, people fall down and hurt themselves. We want our village to be a role model in terms of footpaths and solar lighting to improve the living standards for our people.”
The Solomon Islands-Australia Community Partnerships grants is a small grants program, which supports community-led projects that seek to improve living standards. These community projects reach widely across Solomon Islands – and Australia is looking forward to continuing our collaboration with communities across the Hapi Isles.
The Australian High Commission will open the next Community Partnerships grants funding round in January 2024, to be announced via our Facebook page.