Water accessibility made possible in the Malaita Province of Solomon Islands

Clean water is a basic human need. Without access to it, illness can become rife and school attendance affected, creeping lower and lower with sickness looming large in the community. This results in limited employment opportunities, low income, and little hope for communities to recover from the devastating cycle of poverty.   

According to The World Bank data report, in the Solomon Islands, 33% of the population does not have access to healthy or safe drinking water. Instead, many people must resort to using water from sources such as dirty wells. 

Peter Wale collecting water from a well in Surabuta. Credit: Dennis Uba, CASI.

“All people have a right to safe drinking water…This is a problem that affects everyone and is a source of great suffering in our common home.”

Pope Francis, Laudato Si

Caritas Australia is steadfast in our commitment to mitigating this water scarcity issue, taking long-lasting action from many angles. 

Our Happy Healthy Holistic program (3H program), is an innovative community development program that aims to provide accessibility and sustainable management of healthy and safe water.  

This initiative has been running for five years and is implemented in six remote communities across three provinces in the Solomon Islands.  

Caritas Australia Solomon Island (CASI) Staff Members Mary Malagela And Rose Clough Accompanied Community Members During The Project Implementation. Credit: Dennis Uba, CASI.

The 3H program focuses on the design, planning, and construction of water accessibility resources such as gravity-fed rainwater harvesting systems as well as handpumps. Activities also include local leadership training, and developing suitable, localised community structures to successfully manage and maintain the resources for years into the future.

Recently, as part of the 3H program, Caritas Australia Solomon Islands (CASI) was able to successfully deliver three handpumps in Surabuta that act as water systems to deliver safe water to the community.  

This delivery is one of two water systems supplied with the assistance of the Brother George Foundation.


To commemorate the delivery of these resources, Bishop Peter Hou'Hou of Auki Diocese, Dan Skehan, Programs Director at Caritas Australia, Lana Hanley, Africa and Pacific Associate Director Caritas Australia, and government representatives, all joined for the handover ceremony.  

“I was so excited to see the community pride and ownership of the project - it really demonstrated that the community saw the project outcomes as being their success as well. It was such a lovely celebration that was great to be part of.”

Lana Hanley, Caritas Australia

Gloria Siwainao, Malaita Provincial Environmental Health Officer reminded the community members to sustain the benefits of the project through regular maintenance of the handpumps. Credit: CASI.
Left image: CASI staff Rose Clough with Surabuta village leader Billy Denitelia. Credit: CASI.

Right image: CA Program Director Dan Skehan checks the quality of the water from one of the three newly built handpumps. Credit: Dennis Uba, CASI.

During the event, stakeholders such as the Ministry of Health RWASH representative reminded the community of the importance of properly maintaining the water system, referring to its lifecycle as just the “beginning of the beginning”. 

The positive implications of this healthy and clean water supply will be a life-changing step for Surabuta, from enhanced wellbeing to improved education.