New Zealand High Commission Suva, Fiji
Improved water harvesting system benefits Viwa school
A New Zealand High Commission grant of FJ$14,000 has helped improved the health and hygiene of the students of Viwa District through significant improvements to the school’s water harvesting system.
Viwa is a remote island on the edges of the Yasawas where the only source of fresh water is from rainwater harvesting and during the dry season extreme water shortages occur threatening the health and hygiene of the people.
Viwa District School is the only school on the Island with 17 boarders and a total roll of 74 students.
Working in partnership with Habitat for Humanity Fiji and the village community, a new rainwater harvesting infrastructure has been established together with improvements to the existing facilities.
As part of the initiative by Habitat for Humanity Fiji the community was provided Educational Training on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene; which is to enable the beneficiaries of this water project to understand the significance of good quality drinking water, water resource management, and water safety, as well as the health implications.
During the official commissioning of the project, New Zealand Acting Head of Mission, Phillip Taula, said he was pleased to see the project benefit the school and surrounding communities by ensuring the availability of proper drinking water for children.
“The water project helps to maintain a healthy school environment which will assist the children at Viwa District School in their learning and educational programmes,” said Mr Taula.
The rainwater harvesting improvements have increased the supply of fresh water for the school and are indirectly benefiting the local communities.
Increased rainwater harvesting capacity has been achieved by restoring and repairing the existing infrastructure and installing new gutters and water tanks. The improved infrastructure and new storage tanks are collecting as much of the rainfall as possible and storing the water for use during the dry season.
Mr Taula said the rainwater harvesting equipment has been proven, is affordable and the high quality installation should serve the school well for many years.
He added that, given on-going water supply challenges, we need to start practising water conservation so that our children can continue to have access to safe drinking water.
This year under the Head of Mission Fund, a total of FJ$170,000 has been utilised on projects that help to meet community development needs.