With this water project in South Tongoa, Vanuatu, the future is bright

Over the last two years, IsraAID built a water system bringing running water to homes in South Tongoa in partnership with Vanuatu’s Department of Water and Resources, the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and local communities. The below interview with Church Elder Edmond Joseph describes what the water system means to the communities in Meriu and Bonga Bonga, who faced water shortages preceding this intervention.

What was life like in the community without a running water system?

In the past, when there was no running water, our parents and grandparents would go up the hill with bamboo poles across their shoulders. They would tie coconut shells and Japanese floaters on each end of the pole so they could collect saline water from the ocean or climb up the hills to collect water from the sources. The water collected would be used by the mamas to cook food or for washing. The women would carry dirty clothes and dishes up the hills to the water sources to do their washing there. They would spend the whole day out in the hills to wash the clothes, dry them up and fold them before coming back to the village. This would take almost a full day. Now, life is so much easier for everyone!

What activities do you see the mamas participating in, now that they do not need to go up the hills to fetch water or do laundry?

Now that water is easily accessed in the community, mamas can spend more time with their families. They are able to participate in livelihood activities, such as weaving of mats, which benefits their families and the community as a whole. For example, today I am here in the capital Port Vila to sell more than 100 mats made by the women.

What about the children? How will the water system impact their lives?

In the past when there is no water during dry seasons, the children would be very dirty and wear dirty clothes. But now, the school has enough water for the kids to drink and wash their hands. The school has enough water to sustain the children when they are in class.

How do you see your community’s future in light of the new water system?

The water system has placed the community on another level and we know that with this water project in the community, the future is bright. This is a huge help to the community. I believe that the Water Committee will work hard with the community to maintain the system. The water system will always remind us of IsraAID and how you have made it possible for the community to live a healthy life and have safe water.

Support IsraAID’s work around the world and ensure that remote and vulnerable communities have safe access to water — especially as the COVID-19 pandemic continues — by making a donation here. Thank you for your support!