New Times, New Targets: supporting Solomon Islands Government WASH transition and resilient WASH for all. 

Water for Women partners with Plan International Australia in the delivery of “New Times, New Targets”, designed to improve WASH services, access and practice in 60 rural communities, 8 health clinics and 22 schools of western Guadalcanal Province in the Solomon Islands.


The Solomon Islands is an archipelago of over 900 tropical islands and atolls in the Pacific Ocean, with a culturally diverse population of over 660,000 people, 80% of whom reside in 1,800 rural communities in 9 provinces.  Guadalcanal Province is home to approximately 93,600 people living in rural communities and settlements.  The Solomon Islands has some of the worst WASH statistics in the world.  In rural areas:

  • only 54% have improved water access
  • only 13% have improved sanitation access
  • approximately 80% practice open defecation

The Solomon Islands Government rural WASH strategy sees a shift in the roles and responsibilities of key actors in the WASH sector providing both uncertainty and opportunity for improvement.  Recent development of policies and standards for rural WASH in communities, schools and clinics provide a solid foundation for improved practice but is yet to materialise into results.

According to traditional roles, women in the Solomon Islands are responsible for household WASH tasks yet women are often not involved in decision making or management activities .  Solomon Island women are impacted the most by poor water and sanitation services as they are:

Responsible for household WASH activities such as collecting water, preparing food, clothes washing and care of children, elderly, unwell and disabled household members


At risk of sexual and physical violence from collecting water and defecating away from the home late at night or early in the morning

Have additional WASH needs to manage their menstruation 


 “The New Times, New Targets project provides a great opportunity to collaborate with the Solomon Islands Government, and the communities they serve, to establish evidence based approaches to rural WASH and create real social change toward equality.”  

– Tom Rankin, Program Manager WASH - New Times, New Targets Project Manager


The project will be led by Plan International Australia (Plan) in collaboration with Live & Learn Environmental Education.  The project will be implemented in rural areas of western Guadalcanal Province and will collaborate with national and provincial government authorities to improve WASH services and gender equality in rural communities.  

Regional map of Solomon Islands

The project will support the Guadalcanal Provincial Health Service to improve WASH facilities and management in 8 rural clinics and the Guadalcanal Provincial Education Authority to strengthen WASH in 22 selected schools within west Guadalcanal Province.

The project will contribute to improvements in gender equality and inclusion of marginalised people within household and community level WASH decision making and management by;

  • Promoting WASH outcomes that address the different but equally important needs and hopes of women and men;
  • improving community understanding and valuing of social inclusion and how it can strengthen communities;
  • Building knowledge and confidence in WASH for all members of the community
  • Providing opportunities for women and other marginalised groups to engage in WASH decision-making processes.


The project has the following expected outcomes:

Systems Strengthening

Government utilising gender and socially inclusive guidelines and tools to lead and monitor WASH improvements in schools, clinics and communities.

  • Inclusive WASH monitoring systems are operational and are informing national systems
  • Government successfully transitioned to governance and monitoring role
  • Government prioritising and budgeting for WASH in schools and clinics 

WASH Access

Approximately 5,427* people in 60 communities, 22 schools, and 8 rural clinics have access to inclusive, safe and resilient WASH services.

  • 22 schools achieve minimum 2-star status.
  • 8 rural clinics have safe and accessible water supply on site and improved sanitation facilities that are universally accessible and gender separated.
  • 75% of people in 60 communities have universal access to basic level WASH services. 

GESI Outcomes

Agency and voice of women and marginalised people is improved in 60 communities.

  • Household WASH roles and decision making are more inclusive and shared more equally
  • Marginalised people have agency and voice in community WASH forums and decision making processes
  • Women and girls have agency and resources to confidently and comfortably manage periods at home and in school 

Evidence and Influence

The Solomon Islands Government adopts project approaches in policy and guidelines and WASH sector implementation is informed by these approaches.  Specifically including development of tools, experience and/or evidence on;

  • Effective on-site water quality testing
  • mobile monitoring applications
  • Community management of water supplies
  • Monitoring of changes in gender dynamics 


Innovation & Impact


In 2021, this project was awarded an Innovation and Impact grant to further strengthen the use of new evidence, innovation and practice in sustainable and inclusive water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) and, in doing so, contribute to improved learning and practice globally.

Achieving socially inclusive and climate-resilient WASH in rural communities in Solomon Islands requires a catchment level approach. Led by Plan International Australia, this project will build on existing project work to strengthen inclusive community-level water planning by developing approaches linking community-scale WASH action planning with catchment-scale thinking and deliberation by applying a ‘water stewardship’ concept.

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 A water and WASH response is a COVID-19 response


In 2020, the importance of water, sanitation and hygiene was underscored as the globe grappled with the COVID-19 pandemic. With support from Australia's Partnerships for Recovery, our partners pivoted their projects and worked collaboratively to support countries in their COVID-19 responses and to embed COVID-19 preparedness into their WASH projects.

In Solomon Islands, Plan International and Live & Learn Environmental Education improved WASH infrastructure in schools and strengthened the enabling environment for long-term sustainability and local leadership of WASH in schools, benefitting an estimated 4,127 students and teachers at 22 schools.

Targeted infrastructure improvements in schools provided economic recovery through the paid engagement and development of local skilled and unskilled labour. Improvements included construction of latrines with provision for menstrual hygiene management, enhanced school water supply (e.g. solar pumped, rainwater harvesting, hand pumped, gravity fed), construction of handwashing facilities, and solid waste management facilities (e.g. incinerator, fenced area). A dedicated construction team made provided economic stimulus into target communities whose livelihoods have been severely disrupted by COVID-19 restrictions.

Australia continues to support COVID-19 preparedness, response and recovery activities across the Indo-Pacific region to secure our region's health, wellbeing and stability in these challenging times.

An unprecedented crisis requires a coordinated response. Through our water resources management and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) projects, we are not only delivering safe, equitable and sustainable water and WASH, we are also building healthy, inclusive and resilient societies. We're supporting individuals, communities and countries to endure, and recover from, the COVID-19 crisis as well as build resilience to future extreme events and natural disasters. 



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*Project targets are based on partner Civil Society Organisations (CSO) baseline studies. Project targets are updated periodically in response to changes in context as appropriate. To see our latest progress towards targets, see our progress.

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