ISLAND LIGHTS PROJECT
Vanuatu, Solomon Islands
The Island Lights Project (ILP) is a not for profit development project of the Women’s Federation for World Peace (WFWP), Australia. ILP carries out tangible and practical humanitarian projects with approved partners within the Islands of Oceania. The Island Lights Project aims to provide sustainable and safe portable solar lighting for women and their families living in remote Pacific Island communities.
Our mission is capacity building; to empower women with the means to enable their children to study after dark and give the opportunity for women to maintain home based businesses.
Solar Lighting Project for the New Hope Academy in Solomon Islands
A moment of joy and hopeful smiles was seen in the eyes of all the staff and students of the New Hope Academy Kindergarten (NHA), when we brought into the school grounds the solar panels and electrical material for the Island Lights Project in the Solomon Islands (SI). WFWP Australia funded more than 63% of the solar project through their annual Support our Pacific Island Neighbours Walk-a-thon. The total cost of the project was over SBD $19,000.00.
The project was managed by WFWP SI. We contracted a wiring and installation person to install the equipment; which included six orbit fans, ten light bulbs, fittings and wiring, and three 100 watt solar panel sets. Within a week the teachers and students were enjoying classrooms with fans, lights and power points to connect laptops.
Staff and Students of the New Hope Academy kindergarten in Honiara, Solomon Islands.
"Thank you WFWP Australia for the assistance and meeting our needs at the right time. On behalf of the NHA and WFWP SI, we covey our sincere appreciation for our major sponsors; WFWP Japan, WFWP Australia, WFWP SI, Jin A school in USA, UPF SI, FFWP SI, and individuals and families within SI and internationally for your sincere and continuous support towards our school development. The New Hope Academy kindergarten will continue to develop. Within the New Year, we will be constructing a new building that will provide 3 classrooms for the primary grades. NHA is expanding the kindergarten into a primary school. Let’s continue to work together to raise and educate our young people of the world."
(President, WFWP SI)
Solar Lights delivered to Lamnatu and Imaelone Village through the WFWP Island Lights Project
The journey began when Dianne Simboro visited the remote village of Lamnatu on Tanna Island and spoke to the women during a health and wellbeing workshop. The women expressed the need for lighting so their children can study at night and they can run home based businesses. Anne Bellavance pictured with the women and children of Lamnatu visited the village to connect with the women leaders. The project belongs to the local women.
Dianne Simboro (front row), Lamnatu Village
Back in Australia we set up a team to raise funds to make the ‘Island Lights Project’ a reality. Our first annual walk-a-thon was held this year in Victoria and New South Wales. Through the Victorian walk-a-thon we were able to purchase high quality portable solar lights for Lamnatu Village and Imaelone Village on Tanna Island, Vanuatu.
Anne Bellavance (middle) with women and their children.
We are very happy to report that the portable solar lights donated via everyone’s sponsorship have arrived safely at their destination in July. The lights were sent to Vanuatu via Brisbane and received by Jong Deug Yoo, who oversees the WFWP Vanuatu Chapter. Rev. Yoo then travelled to Tanna Island to deliver the solar lights to the women of the villages.
Joyce Daniel (centre, in pink), Lamnatu Village
Lamnatu is home to 340 people within 40 households and 15 family groups. The women’s leader of the village is Joyce Daniel. Joyce expressed gratitude to WFWP Australia for the donation. Each mother received lights for their family use. The WFWP & FFWPU Vanuatu team were welcomed by members of Lamnatu Village with dances and song and then the Women Leaders of the village.
The WFWP Vanuatu team is welcomed by the women of the village
Together we have supported the women of the remote village to make their lives easier
The Women of Lamnatu Village, Tanna Island, Vanuatu -Dec. 2013
WFWP Australia, in partnership with WFWP Vanuatu and the women of Lamnatu Village on Tanna Island, Vanuatu are piloting a project that will empower the women of Lamnatu Village through the management and ownership of a women’s cooperative micro-business; involving solar lighting. The Island Lights project is planned to be in operation towards the end of 2014.
A more modern style home
Especially in village life, women of the Island are the back bone of the community and the family. The mothers and girls raise the children, cook, clean and tend the gardens to support their families. In village life, women do not have a significant voice; as men make most decisions and women are not given the opportunity for leadership. WFWP’s goal is to empower women with knowledge and skills within a supportive community to discover their unique value. This is exactly what the project is aimed to do for the women of Lamnatu Village. The men are supporting their women and giving them the opportunity.
A group of traditional buildings making up a family household.
Lamnatu is home to 340 people, within 40 households. The women leaders will run the program to help support the 15 family groups of the village. Anne Bellavance, WFWP Australia president, spoke with the women leaders to gauge their level of ownership and explained the aims and goals of the Women’s Federation for World Peace activities. The women were very happy and welcomed the opportunity to take a leading role within the community in establishing the project.
Traditional family buildings
John’s house – leader of the New Village Movement in Lamnatu
Men within the community supported the initiatives and listened in as the project was discussed and clarified. Anne explained the philosophy behind WFWP; that leadership is a partnership between men and women, together having equal value, position and opportunity.
Technology has already started to come to this remote village, but the solar panels are expensive and beyond the means of most families. Some people work in the main city of Tanna, (Lenakel) and come home for the week-end. They can afford more established homes; yet there is no electricity or running water and cooking is done outside in a separate kitchen building that surrounds an open wood fire on the ground.
The kitchen is an open fire on the dirt floor is located in the centre of the kitchen building. Food is stored, prepared and cooked in the kitchen building. The building is very smoky. The raised building is a traditional sleeping room. A traditional household may have 3-4 buildings with a kitchen and separate sleeping buildings.
Families use this water pool for bathing, gathering water for consumption and washing clothes. The women and girls walk over a kilometer through the bush to reach this spot, using plastic containers to gather the water. At the forefront of the photo, plastics and metal rubbish is visible; washed down as the villager’s access more processed food packaging. No garbage pickup in these remote areas.
In the forefront, garbage is already a problem. Here families bathe and wash their laundry.
Deeper in the bush is the original water source; this underground spring services 3 villages of the area.