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Vanuatu: Integrated WASH and Literacy Project

Milton & the toilet he built for his uncle in Narevorovo, Maewo. ©ABM/Terry Russell 2019.
Milton & the toilet he built for his uncle in Narevorovo, Maewo. ©ABM/Terry Russell 2019.

ABM is excited to announce that this year, for the first time in our work with the Anglican Church of Melanesia in Vanuatu (ACOM-V), we are integrating the Water, Hygiene and Sanitation (WASH) project with the Literacy, Language and Numeracy Project. Thus, the project will also build literacy and numeracy skills amongst 170 early school-leavers in largely remote communities of Vanuatu.

What will this mean?

It means that communities who are eligible to benefit from getting a WASH project* will have the added opportunity to establish a Literacy school in their community as well. Most of the rural areas in Vanuatu suffer from both lack of access to clean water and sanitation, and lack of literacy and numeracy skills. It makes sense for ACOM to develop both projects in the same community, saving time and money on expensive inter-island boat transport, among other benefits. Already, the committees who manage the water projects and the Literacy Schools are often the same people. The project will be more efficient and cost-effective.

When you read Nelson’s story below about his community of Onlapa, you will see both the picture of multiple disadvantage as well as the excitement felt by remote and rural Vanuatu communities about this move to integrate the two projects. 

“My Name is Nelson Tabi, aged 37, from Onlapa – East Pentecost Island in Penama province of Vanuatu.

“I am sharing this story on behalf of the people of Onlapa. Onlapa has a total population of 105 with no access to government services, no means of transport, no mobile networks. The community is very remote and the only means of transport to access government services is sea transport (only available once a month), and by foot. For any emergencies, as most of the population here are not educated, communication is really an issue. I have been to school and am able to communicate on behalf of my community.

“Onlapa has no education services, no health services and we are on our own. We are struggling to earn a living and it becomes worst during disaster times.

“Life is a challenge when there is lack of clean and safe water for the population. Our community people used to access water from a small river nearby for domestic uses including laundries, but it has become polluted.

“Therefore, the Onlapa community leaders were so grateful to have the representation of the Anglican Church (ACOM) in the community to provide opportunity for the church to identify and consider our need of water and sanitation as well as access to education via non- formal education.

“The rainwater harvest system installed by ACOM-V will truly provide help for all community members to access clean and safe water. Not only that, but the installation of the VIP latrines inspired everyone to stop open defecation within the community. Children will be taught how to use the latrines.

“Last but not the least we are looking forward to starting the Adult Language Literacy & Numeracy classes too. So our big thank you to ACOM-V and all funding partners for ensuring the changes that are happening here at Onlapa.

“We are looking forward to ACOM-V’s next visit.”

This year we aim to raise awareness of hygiene in ten communities across three provinces in Vanuatu: Torba, Sanma and Penama. We also aim to help construct model latrines and bathrooms, and improved water sources in fifty households, as well as give local people the skills to replicate these water and sanitation facilities. This will be implemented through our Vanuatu partner, the Anglican Church of Melanesia (ACOM-V).

» In 2020 the Integrated WASH and Literacy project needs $88,540 (tax-deductible)

  • Stationary, workbooks and a blackboard for one literacy class of up to 15 students cost $95
  • A three day teacher training workshop typically costs $110 per teacher
  • Designing and printing a Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Information Kit for household distribution costs $30 per kit
  • A two day technical workshop for members of Community Water Committees costs $200 per person
  • A household latrine costs $390
  • A 5000L water tank, providing water for up to 200 people, costs $2,000

Your generous donation will support this exciting integrated project, bringing the blessing of clean water, safe sanitation and the gift of literacy to the most remote communities of Vanuatu.


Donate now 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 VU006WS 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.

 Australian Aid logo    This project receives partial funding from the Australian Government.
Community Development badge  This is part of the Community Development Program: Learn more about ABM's Programs