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Fr Nicholson Worek drawing a map with community members for
This is part of the Community Development Program: Learn more about ABM’s Programs here
Father Nicholson Worek is 71 years old and comes from Mota Lava Island in the Banks region of Vanuatu. He left his home in 2017 for the nearby island of Vanua Lava to serve as a parish priest for the remote Ambek community, deep
within the island’s jungle interior.
Over the last three decades, this
community has had somewhat of a resurgence. Long ago, there were many people who lived here, farming the land to provide for their families. But struggles from the lack of water meant that life was tough, and several years of severe water shortages eventually forced everyone to leave, taking their animals and meagre possessions with them.
Today, there are over 110 people who have resettled in the area, although the old problems still remain. There is no running water, no sewerage or waste systems, and no electricity. Due to the remote location, there are no accessible roads for reliable transportation, no communication via mobile networks, and health care is severely restricted.
During the dry seasons, villagers have to walk long distances on the rough and hilly tracks to get their
water from the coastal springs. This can take hours every day, meaning that other important work cultivating crops is affected. Father Nicholson noted that for women with a husband, this burden could be shared along with the other household duties, but for single mothers the strain was almost unbearable.
Melanesia Vanuatu (ACOMV) began to partner with Father Nicholson and the Ambek community, making plans to develop vital water infrastructure Water, Sanitation & Hygiene Program (WASH) in the village. Since then, four pit latrines have been installed with ABM funding, and work is underway to establish a permanent water source for everyone to access. Moreover, local men have been trained in building their own pit latrines and in how to maintain the water fixtures, and everyone has received training in proper
sanitation and hygiene practices.
ACOMV staff have noted significant improvements in the health of local children, compared with the first visit made to the community. In particular, skin diseases have reduced considerably from proper hygiene
practices being implemented.
Father Nicholson said, “As a priest and leader of the community, I am very pleased that ACOMV
recognises the need of water and [is] making its way to assist the community. This is the first time
ever for this community, which is known to be the historical site of the Anglican mission in the Banks group of islands, to receive assistance from outside.”
“We have made an attempt to seek assistance from the government but we were unfortunate. Now
we have the latrines built and we are all looking forward to walk very short distances to access water in the next few months with assistance from ACOMV,” he said.
“Thank you to ACOMV and ABM for the assistance. May God’s blessing be upon you all.”
Your support of this project will fund more water storage, latrines and hygiene training for people in rural and remote parts of Vanuatu.
VU006WS needs $67,221 in 2018 (tax-deductible)
You can make an online donation to this project.
Alternatively, for donations by cheque/money order (made out to the Anglican Board of Mission – Australia), telephone or email, view contact details here. Please don’t forget to include the project name and/or code with your payment details.
Gifts to ABM will be applied to the support of project(s) selected. In the unlikely event of the project being oversubscribed or not proceeding to completion, donations will be applied to a similar project to the one(s) selected.
Not a Drop to Drink
A documentary about ABM’s water projects in Vanuatu.
Jacob Landsmeer, a Student Journalist, recently wrote an article about the WASH Program in Vanuatu. It gives an interesting overview of the challenges and issues faced by local communities there, particularly in the aftermath of Cyclone Pam, but also highlights the importance of ABM’s work with the Church. View the article here: Barely a Drop to Drink: Vanuatu’s Problem with Water Sanitation.