Australian Volunteers will leave a permanent legacy of their contribution to Solomon Islands by painting a 'hand hygiene' mural on the wall outside the children's ward at the National Referral Hospital.

The mural will celebrate International Volunteer Day today and will help to promote clean hands and hygiene in the hospital following the newly installed hand-washing stations.

Acting Hospital Chief Executive Officer Loreen Oti Maekera will be joined by Australian High Commissioner to Solomon Islands, Matt Anderson, to acknowledge the contribution of Australian volunteers to the work of the hospital and to Solomon Islands. They will paint a 'hand' of the mural to launch the activity and children from the ward will also be invited to help the volunteers with the painting.

Volunteers not painting will take turns in reading to children in the ward. Books have been donated by families from the Australian High Commission.

"In the true spirit of volunteering, last year Australian volunteers donated blood to help the Solomon Islands Red Cross and this year's mural at the hospital will brighten the ward and bring joy to sick children and families visiting the hospital," Mr Anderson said.

There are around 40 Australian volunteers currently working in Solomon Islands under the AusAID funded Australian Volunteers for International Development, including three working at the hospital.

Ms Maekera said she was very impressed with the idea and was happy to have the volunteers paint the mural.

"We are lucky to have three volunteers working at the hospital and their suggestion to do a mural will help remind people about the importance of washing hands, especially in a hospital," Ms Maekera said.

"The mural will brighten the children's ward and I know it will help lift their spirits too as they recover from illness."

Mr Anderson acknowledged the contribution that Australian volunteers make in Solomon Islands.

"These volunteers use their skills and experience to help government, non-government organisations, schools and community groups. And through their participation in work, sport and community, they also foster links and friendship between Solomon Islands and Australia," Mr Anderson said.

Mr Anderson also paid tribute to the volunteers' host organisations.

"For every volunteer, there is a Ministry, NGO, sporting group or charitable organisation that supports and nurtures our volunteers. These wonderful organisations enrich our volunteers' experience in Solomon Islands, and I'm sure the volunteers also want their host's contribution on International Volunteer Day to be acknowledged."

"Every volunteer in Solomon Islands has a story to tell: whether it is working with provincial governments to run special programs for women and youth, teaching at a provincial school, training in hospitals, helping people with a disability, building media skills, staging Aussie Rules Football clinics in schools and communities, working with NGOs or community groups to draft policy or provide advice. They are leaving a mark and enriching the communities they are helping."

Source: Press Release, Australian High Commission