THE communities in Vuruvachu Ward (Ward 5) of North West Choiseul today starts using a 25-metre-long and 2-metre-wide footbridge constructed by the Provincial Government of Choiseul using their Provincial Capacity Development Fund (PCDF) of PGSP. The construction work on the SBD1, 500, 000 project started on the 3rd of April 2020 and completed on May 7th, 2020.
PGSP is a programme that is funded by the SIG and being implemented by the MPGIS. The programme has an output called PCDF that provides Capital Development Funds for Nine Provinces on performance basis for infrastructure development.
The Vanga Moli Bridge is designed to serve 13 villages in a catchment area with a total population of about 2,000 people. The newly completed bridge shall serve the villages of: Leva Leva, Six Pen, Vudu Taru, Solongari, Gaza Lata, Muma, Apunga, Bibolo, Koparada, Pimdara, Paregobito and Kaku all-in North-West Constituency.
The project was demanded by the communities to connect them to the surrounding communities to access social services such as schools, clinics and church programmes. The bridge is seen as an economic project as it links the communities in the coastal villages to the marketplace at Moli, facilitates travels to gardens, copra farms and other economic activities along the Vanga plains. Every day villagers have to carry their produce and paddle across the river to reach marketplaces. This bridge may be a big relief for the communities.
“This project would not only promote economic livelihoods but also contribute significantly to poverty reduction within the area”, said one of the villagers who has lot of interest in petty trading but, for all this time, he has been affected by lack of safe passage across the small river. Travels to Moli Clinic by villagers from Levaleva, Six Pen, Vudutaru, Solongari and Gazalata shall now be facilitated because of the completion of the bridge. In addition to access to the clinic at Moli, the children from the surrounding villages mentioned herein shall safely continue to attend classes at Moli School at a lesser risk.
Before this bridge was constructed, students used to miss classes when there is flood caused by heavy rains. Some time students had no choice but to swim across the 10-metre-deep river as they struggle to go to school. This is indeed too dangerous for the parents and students and it had contributed to some parents not sending their children to school. This fear has now become a thing of the past as the Provincial Government strive to connect the communities by focusing on every footpath that tend to hinder socio-economic development.
The hardship being experienced by Villagers will now be eased. Villages who used to paddle dugout canoe to cross the river to access social services and livelihood activities of gardening, marketing, farming and trading will no longer be under such stress and pressure. Life has now been made easy for them, thanks to Choiseul Provincial Government for the speedy completion of the footbridge. This is a big relief for the Ward Member, Hon. Paul Telovae, who had to buy one dugout canoe to assist the communities to paddle across the river, as told by the PGSP Advisor. The Honourable Member cannot imagine how relieved his communities have been since the construction took off last month.
Being necessities in life, the Province considers infrastructure such as bridges as means where the population in remote and cut-off areas may access social services. The table below shows the footbridges so far designed and implemented by the Provincial Government of Choiseul.
The following footbridges have so far been completed by Choiseul Provincial Government through its meager PCDF allocation making immense impact on the community’s economic activities and cementing social cohesion:
|Item No.||Projects||Constituency||Ward||Year of completion|
|1||Molevaga/Loimuni Footbridge||Northwest Choiseul||9||2011|
|2||Borokuni Seleku Footbridge||Northwest Choiseul||11||2014|
|3||Dudura footbridge||East Choiseul||16||2015|
|4||Parana footbridge||East Choiseul||15||2015|
|5||Vanga Moli footbridge||Northwest Choiseul||9||2020|
Commenting on the project, the PGSP Capacity Development Advisor based in Taro, Mr Eric George, describes the completion of the Vanga Moli Bridge as a great achievement for the people living in the 13 villages that would be served by the project. He commended the efforts of the contractor, Dalgro (SI) Ltd, for delivering the project within one month instead of the original target period of four months. The contractor is now moving its equipment to start the construction of another PCDF funded SBD1, 000, 000 bridge at Voruvoru, which is expected to serve a population of about 1000 people.
The Provincial Secretary, Mr. Geofrey Pakipota and his hardworking Engineer and Officers in the Planning and Treasury Divisions with the full support of the Provincial Executive are indeed doing everything to ensure every village in Choiseul is connected by footbridges, wherever possible.
The Acting Chief Education Officer of Choiseul Province views the successful completion of the footbridge as an achievement in the Provincial Government efforts in supporting access to education by children in Choiseul. A good number of students completing their early childhood learning at the kindy in Levaleva will use the footbridge and proceed to attend the primary studies at Moli.
It must be noted that the planning, designing, procurement processes and implementation of the project were all done by the Provincial Government of Choiseul. The only thing the MPGIS did was to transfer the funds into the PCDF designated account of Choiseul Province. The role of the PGSP is to build capacity in planning, procurement, implementation and public expenditure management systems to promote greater accountability. The Provincial Government of Choiseul is thanking the National Government for providing the much-needed resources through the PCDF for the project to eventuate. The Province hails the National Government efforts and looks forward to further resourcing of the Province by the National MPs to enable them to come up with more economic projects on which local economic growth may be anchored.
Even though the official opening of the footbridge has not been done yet, the communities have already started using the bridge creating lot of excitements. The development outcome of the bridge is already being realized. We shall keep you updated on the progress on the construction of the Voruvoru bridge that is about to commence.
—MPGIS Press 15th May 2020