COMMUNITIES in Aiaisi (ward 19), in East Are’Are Constituency have shown overwhelming support towards the Ahetaha Water Conservation’s recent handing over program on 29th July 2022.
The handing over program is a joined effort between AWCA and UNDP-GEF Small Grant by which AWCA is the implementor and GEF Small Grant is the donor partner to the communities of Ahetaha.
The milestone event was held last Friday where Project Coordinator Eddie Huitarau and a team of official quests visited the Ahetaha Conservation Village.
The official quests attending the event includes; Guest of Honour Meshack Ma’ukera MPA for ward 19, UNDP/GEF Small Grant Country Coordinator – Teiba Mamu, Solomon Islands Rangers President – Mr. Albert Kwatelae, Mai-Maasina Green Belt – Project officer Michael Siwainao Jnr, Wai-Hau Conservation Foundation Chairman-Max Totorea, Grantee Partner Takataka Eco-Village Conservation Secretary Zachariah Mokeoha, New version photography Director Felix Naitoro with a lot of entertainments performed by Mae ka aniani panpipers and Ahetaha woman’ group.
The Ahetaha Water Conservation Association (AWCA) started its journey with the Global Environment Facilities (GEF) Small Grants Programme back in 2020 when it first received its Planning Grant and later, the full grant.
Through the financial support, the AWCA has effectively collaborated with key stakeholders and experts to implement its activities such as workshops/ training, data collection, GIS Mapping, CBRM Plans, look & learn trips, UNDP/GEF as our key stakeholders.
And a donor partner has supported the work of the AWCA over the past 18 months with the following project results and tangible achievement; Construction of Training centre, construction of two ablution blocks, construction handwash bay, landscaping the site, development of GIS mapping, establishment of 100m Coastal Zone -No-Go-No-Take Zone, construction of footpath and footbridge to the conservation village, installation of solar regulator and battery, development of Marine Ecosystem Survey and Biodiversity Report, development of Freshwater Ecosystem Survey and Biodiversity Report, development of Environment Impact Assessment Report and the facilitation of AWCA to move from step 4 to step 8 towards the PA process and steps.
This project is important not only for the Ahetaha community, but Malaita province and also Solomon Islands. Our environment is important for our livelihood and wellbeing that provides life and many other benefits for humans and wildlife.
Notably, looking after our environment and using it sustainably now and into the future is not only important but an essential prerequisite.
Hence, it is a positive step in addressing this environment and social issue that not only affects humans, but also affects and threatens our beautiful ocean and wildlife.
In his addresses to the people during the handing over, Huitarau said the right and proper thing for us is to ensure that community get benefits from protecting their environment, and at the same time, in terms of sustainability he calls on everyone to take ownership, pride, respect and responsibility to care for the facility to serve your well-being and generations to come.
He said only through meaningful engagement with the people the communities will see their need and discuss how they could work together to achieve them.
Huitarau told those who attended that being a community led initiative owned by the people is important to engage them on agendas and activities they need to engage in order to make better decisions.
The paramount importance of this occasion is first and foremost to thank the work and contributions of AWCA towards the natural resource management and consolidating livelihood support for the communities and the tribes which are facing decisions about the future of their forests and have ongoing activities in one of these areas.
“Today marks the climax of our joint endeavor for the development of Ahetaha. I am confident that if we continue to work together closely, just as we have done over these past months, it will be a great success”.