The goal of our Fiji Project is to work with the village residents of Buca, Loa, and Vunikura to provide safe and reliable drinking water through advocating sustainability, community involvement, and project ownership.
The long-term benefit of our work in Buca, Loa, and Vunikura will be reliable and safe water supply that significantly reduces risk of waterborne illness such as typhoid, as well as infrastructure that has been sized and designed for better resiliency under varying weather conditions and population growth within these three villages.
The Fiji Project began in 2008, after an outbreak of typhoid fever spread throughout the three villages. The outbreak of this water-borne disease demonstrated a clear need to address the inadequate sanitary water supply infrastructure in these communities and provide a clean and reliable water source. Our project started with installing biosand filters for the three villages at the request of the Mission at Natuvu Creek and has expanded to include larger distribution and storage infrastructure improvements through a partnership with our partner NGO, Dream Machine Foundation.
To date, we have successfully completed 8 implementation trips to improve water infrastructure, monitor water quality, and implement education programs. Our team has partnered with the three communities to accomplish the following during our trips:
- Installation of 33 bios and filters in all three villages and guidance with their repairs and water quality monitoring
- Upgrades of significant portions of the 3 villages' water distribution systems
- Replacement of part of a transmission main in the village of Buca
- Installation of a 20,000-liter water storage tank in the village of Vunikura
- Repair of leaking water infrastructure in the village of Loa
- Training and education on maintenance of water infrastructure, sustainability, and conservation
In addition to providing safe and reliable drinking water to the villages, we focus on education and sustainability. We have been conducting education programs on water conservation and biosand filter maintenance since our first implementation trip. These programs are great opportunities to engage the communities and help the villages become more secure with maintaining their water systems.
While our work is not yet entirely complete, we have seen significant improvements in water supply and quality during the 9 years of our partnership, and have prevented a return of typhoid in these communities since the project began. Most importantly, the village residents are increasingly aware of the necessity for clean and safe drinking water and the importance of water conservation.
Currently, our project is carrying out continued implementation of water supply improvements to ensure sustainable long-term benefits in the communities we are working in. In our 2017 trip, we will specifically target source catchment and distribution improvements in the village of Loa in order to improve the dependability of the system, and we will evaluate the use of a new source to supply water to Vunikura. We will also conduct a comprehensive evaluation of the condition and effectiveness of the biosand filters that have been installed in the three villages.
Our primary local partner in Fiji is the Dream Machine Foundation, an organization dedicated to improving health outcomes in Fiji. This organization assists us with coordination with the villages and other governmental agencies in Fiji, and provides the EWB team with lodging while we are in Fiji.
The Mission at Natuvu Creek is a medical and dental clinic which serves the communities of Buca Bay. In addition to their partnership in helping initiate our project in this region, the Mission staff assist our team during our work in the field. In recent years they have provided support by providing essential construction tools, such as a concrete mixer for our storage tank construction.
Communities We Work with
The three villages of Vunikura, Loa and Buca, are located around Buca Bay in a remote area of Vanua Levu Island in Fiji.
Community members are closely engaged and actively involved at every stage of our project cycle. During the year leading up to each implementation trip, our team works with the village headman and the village water committees create a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to agree upon priorities for each village for that year, as well as a division of labor and resources. During construction and implementation the team relies heavily on involvement and participation from the villagers to ensure both knowledge transfer and local ownership of the project.
After construction, the village is responsible for the continued maintenance of the project. The team provides training, along with spare components, to empower village residents to maintain pipelines and BSFs themselves.
Finally, the team coordinates closely with the villages' water committee at the conclusion of each implementation trip to identify additional concerns and initiate the discussion of priorities for continued improvements to the water supply system.
How You Can Help
We want to keep on making a difference, and here’s how you can be a part of this cause:
- Donate today — whether $5 or $500, you’re changing someone’s life.
- Check out our fundraisers and other EWB SFP events at Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EWBSFP/
- Feeling inspired? Come and attend a General Chapter Meeting to learn more about how you can get involved. Our meetings are posted on the Chapter’s google calendar - those from all disciplines and levels of expertise are welcome!
There are lots of ways to get involved, whether donating money or spreading the word. Every little bit is appreciated, so thanks for participating! And check back often to see our progress, and how you’ve helped make a difference.
Vinaka Vaka Levu! (Thank You!)