Walking long distances to source fresh, clean water is a thing of the past for the people of Sanivele village on the Guadalcanal Plains, thanks to help from the Australian Government Aid Program.

The people of Sanivele have celebrated the handover of two new water tanks with stand pipes, providing them with fresh running water for the first time.

They have also welcomed the hand-over of two new Ventilated Improved Pit toilets, which will mean a significant reduction in water-borne diseases across the community. Until now, they have used the bush for toilet needs, and carried water to the village from Ngalibiu River.

The new sanitation facilities were funded by the Australian Government Aid Program, through the Health Sector Support Program, which works in partnership with the Solomon Islands Ministry of Health and Medical Services.

The Ministry provided technical staff to implement the project, through its Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Division. The Division's Honiara Headquarters and Guadalcanal Province personnel worked as a team with the Sanivele community to ensure all aspects of the project were fully discussed and that health and hygiene awareness training was undertaken before project construction commenced.

The SBD$98,000 project was funded through a SBD$4.5 million allocation made through the Health Sector Support Program in the 2009 budget. It demonstrates Australia's ongoing commitment to improving livelihoods across Solomon Islands through the Bilateral Aid Program.

The small inland village of Sanivele was established in 1986 after Cyclone Namu caused major damage to coastal villages across the Solomon Islands. The population of 57 people are mainly subsistence farmers, living across four main households.

Australian Aid Program Bilateral Counsellor, Kamal Azmi, attended the launch, and said the new sanitation facilities would provide long-term benefits to the people of Sanivele.

"Access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation are key priorities of the Millennium Development Goals, and I am pleased that we have been able to work together with the Government of Solomon Islands to deliver these facilities to the people of Sanivele," Mr Azmi said.

"Australia congratulates the Ministry of Health and Medical Support Services for delivering this essential infrastructure to the Sanivele community."