Australian Deputy High Commissioner Dr Dave Peebles handed over 10 water tanks to Vonunu Provincial Secondary School Principal Ialine Wateka at Gizo Wharf in Western Province on 29 May.

The water tanks were a much needed donation for the school in South Vella La Vella, which local authorities were considering closing down due to substandard water and sanitation. Students and staff at Vonunu secondary school have had water issues since the 2007 tsunami.

"The new water tanks will ensure that classes can continue without interruption," said the Chief Health Inspector for Western Province, Fred Naphtalai.

"Australia is very pleased to be a partner with the school, to bring fresh, clean water to the students and teachers," said Dr Peebles.

"The students at the school are working very hard. They've got big dreams: the students I spoke to wanted to be doctors and lawyers and accountants and engineers. They are lucky to be supported by a great principal and excellent staff. It was an honour for us to be able to assist them."

The water tanks were funded through the Australian High Commission's Direct Aid Program (DAP).

"DAP is a small grants program that aims to improve living standards in rural communities across the country," said Dr Peebles.

"Grants are allocated for projects such as water tanks, community solar and hydro power generation, building or renovation of school classrooms and medical clinics, and small income generation schemes.

"It's part of Australia's contribution to a secure and prosperous Solomon Islands.

"DAP has a budget of around SBD 1 million and the Australian High Commission is encouraging communities that have not previously applied to consider submitting an application this year," said Dr Peebles.

Applications can be picked up in person from the Australian High Commission, corner Hibiscus Ave and Mud Alley in Honiara.

Source: Press Release, Australian High Commission, Solomon Islands