Remote resilience: empowering communities in Fiji for improved water, sanitation and hygiene

A youth group dressed in colourful floral clothing stand smiling at the camera in a village, there are a mix of men and women

The youth group in Nativi village plays an active role in the community. Habitat for Humanity is finding ways to empower youth, women, children, teachers and health workers inspire and influence behaviour change in their community


A WASH response is a COVID-19 response; that’s true everywhere and certainly the case in Fiji where many remote and rural communities have to rely upon their own resources and expertise to provide water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services.


The COVID-19 pandemic highlights the need for appropriate infrastructure, such as handwashing facilities, that will support improved hygiene practices in vulnerable communities. Proper handwashing requires access to reliable, well-managed water sources, in households, schools and other public locations. Many Fijian communities lack this type of infrastructure and improved sanitation facilities that are the third aspect to safeguarding health through WASH.


With support from Australia, through Water for Women, Habitat for Humanity is improving the access to and management of water and sanitation infrastructure and services in 18 Fijian communities in Ra and Ba. Along with service delivery, they are working with WASH management committees, community members, students and teachers to promote better WASH-related behaviours, such as handwashing with soap, universal access to sanitation and care for community water points.


This has been coupled with small-scale community grants, to incentivise communities to take action and improve their WASH facilities, including prioritising the water conservation. In addition to working with community leaders, Habitat for Humanity’s project promotes the role of youth in improving WASH behaviours and outcomes. The project builds the competencies of health workers, youth, women and primary school teachers and students to catalyse change in the wider community.


This work is helping build the resilience of communities in Fiji, as well as ensuring they stay healthy and reduce the risk of diseases, an important step in the prevention of COVID-19.

Through Partnerships for Recovery, Australia is supporting COVID-19 work across the Pacific to secure our region’s health, wellbeing and stability in these challenging times. Through Water for Women, not only are we delivering safe, equitable and sustainable Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), we are also building, healthy, inclusive and resilient societies. 


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