More communities in Gizo-Kolombangara Constituency (GKC) will be accessing clean and safe drinking water at their doorstep following the handover ceremony on 20 December 2023 of 100 new water tanks with materials for the construction of two new major water projects that will also improve health standards and transform lives across the constituency.
The projects are funded by the Peoples Republic of China (PRC), through its newly established partnership program with the Ministry of Rural Development (MRD) known as Rural Sustainable Development Program (RSDP).
PRC provided funding support and MRD provided technical staff to implement the project, through its RSDP Project Management Unit.
The occasion marked the first official handover ceremony to the many more handovers scheduled to happen in the coming weeks and months under the RSDP partnership program.
Of the 100 water tanks, 50 are mainly for Gizo Town for families who cannot easily access clean drinking water while the other 50 will be shared between rural Gizo and rural Kolombangara families.
The water pipes and necessary materials are for the construction of two main water supply projects. One for Lady Lever communities with population of 2000 people including children. It will be sourced more than 7km inland in Kolombangara Island with at least five communities in the Lady Lever catchment areas.
The second water project is for Kena and Hunda communities. It will be sourced at least 4Km inland and will benefit at least 1500 people including children.
Construction work on these projects will begin in January 2024 between communities and a local contractor who has successfully constructed the 6 previous water supplies in Gizo-Kolombangara Constituency (GKC).
Minister for MRD Hon. Duddley Kopu while expressing profound gratitude to PRC for the generous funding support said the new RSDP partnership program is a testament that Solomon Islands Government (SIG) and PRC’s bilateral relationship and cooperation is unshakable and continues to grow from strength to strength and also bringing more opportunities for Solomon Islands.
He said partnership is the only way forward to bringing meaningful change in our rural areas as development is concerned toward transforming rural lives and improving rural dwellers livelihood.
Hon. Kopu also thanked PRC’s continuous support to rural development in the country since 2019.
Chinese Ambassador to Solomon Islands His Excellency Cai Weiming said he was honored to be part of the ceremony as it marked a significant moment of collaboration and goodwill between China and Solomon Islands.
“Water is life. We understand that access to clean and reliable water is a challenge in some rural areas in Solomon Islands. The provision of these water tanks and materials for the water projects will help counter this challenge and help more rural constituencies and communities’ access to clean water,” H.E. Weiming said.
He said China as a developing country, fully understands the development needs and concerns of Solomon Islands adding the handover of the 100 water tanks is a testament to China’s commitment to enhancing the quality of life for Solomon Islands people.
“Chinese government will continue to facilitate support within our capacity to the development of rural areas in Solomon Islands,” he said.
He also expressed gratitude to MRD for working closely with the Chinese Embassy office in Honiara since the establishment of bilateral relations in 2019.
“With Chinese funds, more water supplies have been provided, more classrooms have been renovated, and more solar lights have been distributed. I believe with our joint efforts, there will be more handover ceremonies and more tangible outcomes under the RSDP program.”
He said Chinese government’s support for the development of all rural areas will always be on the way, and no one will be left behind.
“We firmly believe that our cooperation in development will bear more fruits, benefit people and eventually bring more development opportunities to this country,” H.E. Weiming added.
Community Facilitator, Rinda Melsen, represented the communities at the small but significant handover ceremony.
Mrs Melsen recognized PRC for the funding support to RSDP and MRD for facilitating the timely project assistances which she said, indeed a great relief to their communities who often face with water difficulties.
“We all know that water is a necessity for life. Therefore, guaranteeing our communities access clean and safe water through these projects is paramount to ensuring improved health standards not only for our community but also within the constituency.”
Under the RSDP program, PRC committed US$10 million for rural development to improve the social and economic development and livelihood of citizens in the rural areas of Solomon Islands by strengthening the effective participation of indigenous people and local communities in social and economic initiatives.
This new donor partnership is a testament to the MOU signed between PRC and SIG in 2019 in terms of PRC support towards rural development.
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– MRD Press