20 June 2017
Busufoula'a Hydro Project – 5 years of power and still going strong
Busufoula'a Hydro Project is a great example of a sustainable collaboration on hydro power between the local community and the Australian High Commission. The project was funded in 2012 under Australian Direct Aid Program funding and is located in the central ward of Malaita province.
The Hydro Project is providing 300 volts of electricity to the community, enabling the community to have access to light at night time, and saving them money which can be used on fuel and transport. This sustainable initiative is improving the lives of women, youth and children in the community who no longer have to rely on kerosene for energy and providing more than ten households with electricity. “Previously, community activities or meetings could not happen at night” said Mr. Stephen Mani, project coordinator. “Now with hydro power access, the community can engage in night economic activities such as cocoa drying, women’s livelihood activities and students can have bright lights to be able to study,” said Mr. Stephen Mani, project coordinator.
“The Australian Government is pleased to support a clean, safe and reliable energy project, one that enables more opportunities for the local community”, said Alexandra Little, Second Secretary to the Australian High Commission. “It is also inspiring to see the commitment and enterprise of this community to this project beyond the initial grant. Busufoula’a community self-funded the maintenance of the hydro when it broke down during the April floods in 2014 from their own community funds and have also used waste water from the Hydro to farm fresh water Tilapia”.
The community’s main source of income is cocoa harvesting and buying of wet beans. The community has benefitted from using lights for late night drying of the cocoa beans. Funds from cocoa beans are regularly put aside by the community for repairs if needed in the long term.
The Australian Government’s Direct Aid Program aims to improve livelihoods in some of Solomon Islands’ most remote and disadvantaged areas. Application forms can be collected from the Australian High Commission in Mud Alley or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.