Ecorys, funded by the European Union, is working in the Solomon Islands to improve the living conditions of rural populations through the implementation of the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Promotion for Rural People (RWASH) policy, including sustainable management of the systems and promoting system resilience to climate change. The Solomon Islands Government ‘s (SIG) vision is that all Solomon Islanders will have easy access to sufficient quantity and quality of water, appropriate sanitation and will be living in a safe and hygienic environment by 2024.
The results which the project aims to achieve are:
- Result 1: Increased service delivery of RWASH systems and implementation of the RWASH Policy, with an initial focus on rural health centres / clinics and schools.
- Result 2: Improved planning, monitoring and evaluation of RWASH service delivery.
- Result 3: Increased awareness of rural communities on the importance of hygiene and sanitation, and reduction of frequency in the number of cases of diseases with faecal-oral transmission.
The programme, which began in January 2016 and runs for 42 months, will strengthen country systems for RWASH service delivery in rural areas, policy coordination, monitoring and accountability.
Technical Assistance is provided to the Environmental Health Division, within the Ministry of Health and Medical Services, to complement the budget support package of EUR 13m. Ecorys are providing four long term RWASH Experts, specialised in governance, engineering, community engagement and sanitation, to assist with reporting, capacity development and institutional strengthening for improved service delivery in the RWASH sector and improved coordination with line ministries, provincial governments and stakeholders. The key expert team are working towards a series of milestones:
- To work towards the reform of the sector and its governance, the team are building awareness and compliance in sector regulations, for best practice and universal standards in RWASH, to specifically build the capacity of the Environmental Health Division in programme management, engineering, community engagement, sanitation and Monitoring and Evaluation.
- For improved planning, monitoring and evaluation of RWASH service delivery, the team have provided support in Public Financial Management, to support the development of Annual Action Plans and Budgets (and their implementation), developed an outsourcing modality for RWASH projects on behalf of the Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS), and provide overall support to sector coordination and strengthening the relevant institutions , to ensure that all stakeholders (governmental and non governmental) are achieving the same standards, sharing information and undertaking shared planning and reporting exercises. The Ecorys team have developed a comprehensive M&E framework for RWASH in the Solomon Islands, which was rolled out in 2018;
- To increase awareness of rural communities on the importance of hygiene and sanitation; the team have focused on the development and implementation of community engagement tools and guidelines for all sector stakeholders, and in order to achieve the target of 100% Open Defecation Free communities, have been supporting the wide scale roll out of Community Led Total Sanitation on a province –by-province basis, in collaboration with UNICEF. The Programme also includes the provision of RWASH infrastructure to all health facilities and schools where there are no adequate facilities in place. The communities where these facilities are located will also be provided with water supplies and hand washing facilities, as well as the necessary training and awareness to allow for sustainable operations and maintenance by the community.