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.
This project has been completed and resulted in the renovation of 44 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. In 2012 the Morgans and UNICEF NZ returned to the Solomons to carry out an on-site evaluation of the work that has been done. This visit initiated further spot-checks by the MOE and UNICEF. Of the 44 schools UNICEF provided funding to, 9 were still working on their betterment plans, but all work had started and was close to completion.