Island News

Changing peoples’ lives for the better

Written By : VASITI RITOVA. From Wainibuka to the settlements of Ba, people’s lives are changing for the better. The hard work of members of the Rotary Pacific Water for
08 Aug 2009 12:00

image Written By : VASITI RITOVA. From Wainibuka to the settlements of Ba, people’s lives are changing for the better.
The hard work of members of the Rotary Pacific Water for Life Foundation is paying off as they travel all over the country-side to officiate at numerous projects that have provided some of life’s basic necessities.
Over in Veinuqa, Wainibuka, Qalito along the Coral Coast and Tawarau and Volivoli in Ba, things are becoming easy. Water for life is oozing from the taps.
And just like words of a traditional dance (Meke) oozed with celebration and thanksgiving in Veinuqa, water is flowing, right at their doorstep.
And their insights and beliefs were composed and blended into a Fijian dance that echoed around the village green the day one big blessing arrived. It was something they shared with rounds of good food and Yaqona all day last Saturday.
This is the story of how an entire village in Wainibuka got its ever first feel of fresh and clean supply of water quite closer to home in many, many years. And the story is one of many wonderful projects undertaken by a group of caring people and organisations in Fiji and abroad.
Veinuqa Village, along the under-developed parts of Wainibuka’s King’s Road, got its fresh water supply, thanks to the Vodafone Foundation, FIJI Water Foundation, Rotary Pacific and their international partners.
“The most delighted amongst the villagers were the ladies, who previously walked several metres to the nearby creek, carrying their laundry and dishes and bringing them back to the village,” said Joel Sahai, of Rotary Pacific.
“Water from the creek was also used for cooking as well as for bathing by the villagers,” he added.
“The delight of the women was personified in a meke, the lyrics of which was especially written to recollect their earlier days when they endured great difficulty in sourcing clean water for their daily chores,” Mr Sahai said.
The Rotary Pacific Water for Life Foundation commissioned the Veinuqa project on 27 July and sent the entire village celebrating for hours.
“Veinuqa came to life,” Mr Sahai said.
David Roth, Director of External Affairs & Development for FIJI Water Foundation, was chief guest. The Veinuqa project was completed at a cost of just over $17,000.
“The water source is from a spring catchment three kilometers on the hill and is operated by a gravity pull into a 10,000 litre tank,” he said. The pipes then transport the water, straight to the homes.
The Rotary Pacific Water for Life Foundation is a major contributor to human development in Fiji. It has now completed at least 40 water projects for villages and settlements in rural Fiji.
In Qalito, Sigatoka, they became the first people to enjoy the fruits of a major water sanitation project. Qalito Settlement, located directly adjacent to the Warwick Resort on the coral coast is home to the Foundation’s first pilot project of its kind.
The settlement is made up of 12 homes and has a population of about 70 people.
The settlement was chosen as an ideal spot for the project as it is surrounded by a Marine Protected Area (MPA), has a community strongly committed to improving health standards and protecting their natural environment.
The Foundation recognizes the moral obligation it has to not only provide communities with safe drinking water, but also address the consequential and significant waste water issues.
Initiated by Holly Gittletn a volunteer from the US, who spent six months with the Foundation earlier this year, work on the project progressed with members of Qalito settlement, their project leader Viliame Jeke, Victor Bonito of Reef Explorer Fiji and Andrew Drakers of Eco-Engineering, to design a sanitation system that is low maintenance, economical, requires no electricity and is easily replicable throughout Fiji.
This technology has been borrowed from Reef Explorer Fiji and USP’s combined sanitation project in the nearby village of Votua along the Queen’s Highway.
The Qalito project boasts Fiji’s first Banana Trench black water treatment system in which affluent from septic tanks and sewage pipes is leached through a concrete block-coconut filter.
Once leaving the coconut filter, affluent is wicked from the gravel leach field by the roots of banana plants.
The banana plants remove harsh toxins from the affluent, most notably Nitrogen, which cause health problems and are a main source of pollution on coral reef systems.
The Qalito project also uses a coconut filtration technology for treating grey waste water.
Six of the twelve homes will be utilizing composting toilets instead of pit toilets and septic tank-flush toilet systems.
Project leader Viliame Jeke has modified two different types of composting toilets to fit the individual needs and desires of his community.
All the construction efforts have been single handily accomplished by the villagers of Qalito Settlement and the Foundation is proud of their efforts and determination to finish this pilot project in sanitation which is expected to cost around $20,000.
It is also very optimistic and anxious to continue to help communities through out Fiji not only in providing safe drinking water but also in the people’s efforts to clean up their waste in order to protect Fiji’s unique and beautiful natural environments.
The Foundation is also of the view that this may be a model solution that can be used by most costal villagers in a cost effective manner using local materials such as coconuts and banana plants.
Two more projects were commissioned in Natawarau and Volivoli in Ba last weekend.
The Natawarau Project was completed at a cost of just over $19,000, the water sources are from a borehole and a well which is pumped into 10,000 litre tanks installed in each settlement and piped to the individual homes.
Most delighted amongst the residents were the ladies who previously walked several meters to the only home which had water and bringing back containers of water to their homes for cooking as well as for bathing and washing.
Established in August 2007, the Foundation has been helping rural communities throughout Fiji in providing sustainable and safe drinking water.
It has around 45 completed projects costing $675,000 and benefiting around 18,000 people with 90 more developing projects on Viti Levu, Yasawas, Kadavu, Vanua Levu and other islands.

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