The Department of Water Resources (DoWR) in collaboration with the Vanuatu Skills Partnership (VSP) Ambae Recovery initiative is progressing with an agreement to improve Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) facilities on Ambae.
An MOU formalizing the collaboration between the DoWR and the Vanuatu Skills Partnership (VSP) was signed in August 2020, to achieve the shared goal of developing human resources and infrastructure needed to strengthen the WASH sector in Vanuatu. This is particularly critical for Vanuatu’s health security against the COVID-19 pandemic.
A joint WASH assessment was conducted, July 2020 to determine the impacts of the 2018 Mt BenBen volcanic eruption, along with the impacts of TC Harold and COVID-19. Following this assessment, the initial priority focus is on supporting the upgrade and extension of an existing water supply system in the remote Ward 4 of the South Ambae Area Council.
More than 100 households with an estimated total population of over 500 people will be direct beneficiaries to this water system upgrade and extension. This will provide much needed water supply to the community and will be extended to Bangabulu Primary school so that there are appropriate sanitation facilities for the school to ensure safe Covid-19 practices.
Through VSP’s Skills for Construction initiative, and financial support of over 2 million vatu, Ambae Recovery Project Manager, Amos Talu, is working to improve the human resources available in rural communities to maintain the water systems. Manager Talu explained, “We have in the past identified that lack of maintenance due to the unavailability of trained plumbers affects the sustainability of many water supply systems in rural Vanuatu. To address this issue, we will be training local plumbers recruited from within the local Area Council through an onsite training delivery plan. The plumbers will take part in a nationally accredited plumbing training which will be delivered by Torgil Rural Training Centre.”
According to the DoWR Director, Mr Ericson Sammy, “The trainings will also include water sector technical trainings, community management and financial management trainings as required by the DoWR.”
The upgrade and extension of gravity fed water system training and installation will commence on February 08, 2021 for three weeks. A team has travelled to Ambae to finalise logistics, validate participant information, and other groundwork prior to the three weeks of project implementation.
VSP Director, Fremden Yanhambath, emphasised the Partnership’s support in meeting the Government’s WASH goals in the National Sustainable Development Plan. “VSP will continue to facilitate business coaching and skills development in water supply, sanitation and hygiene as part of its Skills for Construction initiatives through the SANMA, MALAMPA, TAFEA and TORBA Skills Centres, under the Ministry of Education and Training.”
The Vanuatu Skills Partnership is a joint investment between the Government of Vanuatu and the Government of Australia.