New Zealand High Commission Port Vila, Vanuatu
High Commissioner Dobbie hands over Solar Power Equipment to School
The New Zealand High Commissioner, Bill Dobbie, officially handed over the HOMF funded Ekipe Solar Power Project on the 26th of August 2011 at Ekipe Centre School, situated more than 80 kilometres North of Efate Island. Over 400 members of the community and students, with respective leaders from the nearby villages and the High Commission's Head Of Mission Fund (HOMF) Manager, Joel Jonas were present to witness the event.
The New Zealand High Commission assisted the school with a funding of $NZD7,000 towards the cost of the new solar equipment through its HOMF envelope. The aim of the project is to deliver much needed electrical power to the school to create a better learning environment for the students to study, especially in the evenings. Previously, students would be carrying out their evening studies by kerosene lamps or candle light. The school's location within the community accommodates its own challenges as various communal activities throughout the week can become a distraction to the student's studies hence the need for the school to intervene and provide an alternative venue for students to study at night.
The project has also supported the school to operate a computer, printer, projector and other electrical tools. The school's administrative activities have also improved with all printing and photocopying now done at the school instead of the previous exercise where a staff member is required to spend a whole day in town just to do printing and photocopying.
The High Commissioner encouraged the the members of the community to take great care of the project and look after it like the little kids that are attending the school.
At the end of the ceremony, the community and the school showed their appreciation to the High Commission and the Government of New Zealand by presenting the High Commissioner with a valuable traditional staff and a woven mat to the HOMF Manager, signifying a relationship that was established through this support. A small 'kakae' (refreshment) was prepared by the students for all to enjoy before the invited guests departure.