I'm excited to announce that GVI have completed a month long Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) initiative which involved the installation of new hand washing stations and the delivery of basic hygiene education. To date this initiative has increased the village of Yaqeta’s potable rainwater holding capacity by an additional 42,000L!
This project run has been run in close collaboration with the community of Yaqeta village, formally known as Matayalevu. Yaqeta is one of the largest villages in the Northern Yasawas. Like many of the villages within the district, water security continues to be a major issue for the community. This is fundamentally caused by a lack of rainwater in the dry season but exacerbated by inadequate water infrastructure, a lack of maintenance on existing rainwater harvesting systems and a general lack of education and knowledge on the best ways to collect and store water. In line with GVI’s goal to promote water security throughout the central and northern regions of the Yasawas, the GVI community team felt that it was imperative to work to address water scarcity issues within this village as part of a comprehensive water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) initiative.
Tank installation and maintenance
The provision, installation and maintenance of rainwater tanks has significantly improved the capacity for fresh drinking water within Yaqeta village. This project has worked directly towards Millennium Development Goal Target 7.C which is to ‘halve, by 2015, the proportion of the population without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation’ (United Nations, 2013). GVI has ensured that a further 42,000L of fresh rainwater can now be collected throughout the village. This was achieved through the provision additional water tanks and also through basic improvements the performance of existing collection infrastructure through repairs and general improvements.
Members of the community were eager to assist and the importance of regular maintenance of water tanks was emphasised during village meetings. GVI helped to ensure that specific members of the village were tasked with the maintenance of each tank, in an effort to ensure that the community collectively arranged ways for individuals to take ownership of the installed tanks.
Hand washing stations and hygiene education
To address the issue of the lack of hygiene facilities, GVI have completed the construction of basic hand washing stations referred to as tippy taps (the design originating from India) within Yaqeta village. Seven Tippy taps stations (5 in the village, 2 at Yaqeta School) were been built, equating to 175L of available hand washing water. This simple structure uses materials which can be found around the village to produce a tipping container controlled by a foot lever. This creates a hands-free washing station which can be easily reproduced by all families within the village. Practical workshops on how to construct tippy taps were also delivered, and the GVI team helped individual households to build hand washing facilities.
GVI Fiji will continue monitor water security and hygiene facilities within Yaqeta over the coming months. A follow up tank maintenance workshop will also be held to ensure the rainwater harvesting systems are being correctly cleaned and maintained. Hygiene awareness will also be integrated into the primary school curriculum in the new term and the newly installed hand washing stations will continue to be maintained and their use encouraged by school teachers. This new WASH initiative has been highly successful and well received in Yaqeta and will provide the basis for our future community projects within the area.