A partnership of government and international development agencies today announced the next phase of the Solomon Islands Road Improvement Project (SIRIP).

Funded by the Solomon Islands Government, the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID), and the NZAID programme within New Zealand's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade the contract amount of US$14,909,692.86 will help rehabilitate roads and bridges in Makira Province in Solomon Islands.

Work will soon be underway to upgrade and rehabilitate 25 river crossings and 70km of gravel road in the area, and is expected to be completed in January 2012.

The Makira phase of the project will continue to provide opportunities for communities in the province to participate in labour-based road maintenance, where local community groups use simple tools and equipment rather than large machines to do basic road maintenance work such as clearing vegetation, and filling potholes.

This initiative will create job opportunities and cash incomes for both women and men in the area and will also provide skills training and business opportunities for small-scale contractors.

Climate change adaptation is a key feature of SIRIP. Solomon Islands and other low-lying Pacific island countries are considered to be the most at risk from projected rises in sea level and natural disasters. Roads and bridges to be reconstructed under the project will be rebuilt to withstand these extreme weather events.

Co-financed by the Solomon Islands Government, the Asian Development Bank, AusAID, and the NZAID programme, SIRIP aims to reconnect communities to markets, health and education services and boost economic activities.

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