The Solomon Islands comprises a group of 922 islands spread out over 28,500 square kilometres. Most of the population of approximately 550,000 live in small villages along the coastline, and are supported by subsistence farming and fishing.
Gareth & Jo Morgan visited the Solomons in 2009 and were impressed to see the work UNICEF has been doing, rebuilding schools and amenities following the 2007 earthquake and tsunami. They agreed to help fund the renovation work of 46 substandard schools in Western and Choisuel provinces, providing classrooms, latrines, safe water, solar power, and accommodation for teachers and pupils who have to canoe from other islands.
Education is central to improving the lives of children and their families, enabling them to participate more effectively in society, to access support services and to make a productive contribution to development in their country.
The Morgans have matched contributions from other New Zealanders, dollar for dollar. Go to the UNICEF website to find out more www.unicef.org.nz/page/303/SolomonIslands.html . The project is on schedule and of the 46 planned schools in Western and Choisuel Provinces
- All 12 schools in Choiseul Province have been completed
- 23 schools in Western Province are completed, with the original remaining 11 expected to be completed by December 2011 (in original project terms)
- Project extension for supplementary school works (with additional NZD200k funds) will see the project run to the end of June 2012. Timing may now vary on the original schools as plans are altered in line with the additional works to schools, so the original 46 may not be completed by Dec 2011
In 2012 the Morgans and UNICEF NZ are returning to the Solomons to carry out an on-site evaluation of the work that has been done. The Morgans will also fund one of the NZ donors to accompany them on this evaluation trip and together we will report back on our assessment.