The recently completed initiative is part of Habitat for Humanity’s Water for Women project aimed at strengthening community resilience and inclusion through improved water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) in 18 communities and 11 schools in Fiji. It will also provide adequate safe water supplies and sanitation for the surrounding communities where the schools are located.
The SMEC donation was targeted at the Namuaniwaqa, Tataiya and Turagarua primary schools whose main water sources are mostly surface water (creek) and rainwater that is susceptible to contamination due to lack of protective cover or suffer from water shortage and low pressure during the dry season. To address these issues, a rainwater harvesting system (consisting of water tanks, concrete tank bases, guttering, downpipes and fittings) was constructed with the provision of a classroom ceramic water filter as well as a compost toilet for each learning center. The Tataiya and Turagarua schools required additional infrastructure including a borehole infrastructure, a pan and cistern retrofit, tippy-tap stations, menstruation health management facilities and standpipes.
Community members, including teachers and students, were engaged in the project planning and implementation as well as in the training sessions to promote behavioural changes around WASH. To encourage local ownership and engagement whilst promoting gender inclusivity, local community volunteers including women were selected to assist in the construction.