BY JOHN HOUANIHAU
AHETAHA Water Conservation Association in East Are’are, Malaita province has recently welcomed and celebrated a milestone project aimed to improve the livelihood of their community.
In a ceremony to mark the handing over of a small grant to facilitate the construction of a series of projects, the Project Coordinator Mr. Eddie Huitarau described the milestone funded projects as significant not only for the Ahetaha community but Malaita province and also for the Solomon Islands.
The Ahetaha Water Conservation Association (AWCA) previously started its journey with the Global Environment Facilities (GEF) Small Grants Programme back in 2020, however this year they managed to receive a full grant from UNDP as part of its continued partnership over the years.
The grant projects funded under the renewed partnership include:
- Construction of Training Center
- Construction of two ablution blocks
- Construction hand wash bay
- Landscaping the site and development of GIS mapping
- Establishment of 100m Coastal Zone -No-Go-No-Take Zone
- Construction of footpath and footbridge to the conservation village.
- Installation of solar regulator and battery, development of Marine Ecosystem Survey and Biodiversity Report, development of Freshwater Ecosystem Survey and Biodiversity Report,
- Development of Environment Impact Assessment Report and the facilitation of AWCA to move from step 4 to step 8 towards the PA process and steps.
Mr. Eddie Huitarau said the environment is important for our livelihood and the well-being that provides life and many other benefits for humans and wildlife.
“Notably, looking after our environment and using it sustainably now and into the future is not only important but an essential prerequisite.
“Hence, it is a positive step in addressing this environment and social issue that not only affects humans but also affects and threatens our beautiful ocean and wildlife,” the Project Coordinator told the locals who attended the milestone event.
Huitarau said the right and proper thing for us is to ensure that the community gets benefits from protecting their environment.
“At the same time, in terms of sustainability, he calls on everyone to take ownership, pride, respect, and responsibility to care for the facility to serve their well-being and generations to come.”
He said only through meaningful engagement with the people the communities will see their needs and discuss how they could work together to achieve them.
Huitarau told those who attended that being a community-led initiative owned by the people is important to engage them on agendas and activities they need to engage in making better decisions.
“The paramount importance of this occasion is first and foremost to thank the work and contributions of AWCA towards the natural resource management and consolidating livelihood support for the communities and the tribes which are facing decisions about the future of their forests and have ongoing activities in one of these areas.
“Today marks the climax of our joint endeavor for the development of Ahetaha. I am confident that if we continue to work together closely, just as we have done over these past months, it will be a great success,” said Huitarau.