Climate Adaptive and Inclusive WASH in Solomon Islands

Water for Women partners with Plan International and Live and Learn Environmental Education to deliver CAWS – Climate Adaptive and Inclusive WASH in Solomon Islands to reach an estimated 5,249* people living in Guadalcanal Province and support improvements to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) in 21 schools and six healthcare facilities. 


Solomon Islands is one of the most climate-vulnerable countries in the world, ranking 17th ‘most vulnerable’ but only 94th ‘most ready’ of 182 countries,[1] and faces a large range of climate-related hazards. In most cases, fundamental social issues of poverty, inequality, and poorly planned development remain the biggest drivers of disaster risk.[2]


The country’s topography and location within the Pacific’s ‘Ring of Fire’ make Solomon Islands prone to earthquakes, tsunamis and landslides, and the country’s heavy rainfall increases its vulnerability to natural disaster, particularly flooding.

A young child walks towards a beach at dusk in a rural community in Solomon Islands

Before building their household toilet, this child used to visit the beach to practice open defecation. His is one of the rural communities in Solomon Islands working with Plan International and Live and Learn Environmental Education 


Climate-related risks to water, sanitation and hygiene

In Solomon Islands, sea levels have risen by 8mm per year since 1993 – much higher than the global average of 2.8 at 3.6mm per year[3] – and tropical cyclones are common, at a rate of around 29 per decade.

Both threaten WASH infrastructure and the quality and availably of freshwater sources for consumption and for household WASH needs, with communities predominantly relying on:

  • public taps or standpipes (23.6%)
  • surface water (19.8%)
  • rainwater (13.8%)
  • unprotected springs (12.4%)
  • piped water to a yard or plot outside the house (13.5%)
  • protected springs (5.4%).[4]

The Ministry of Environment, Climate and Disaster Management notes that king tides are increasing, causing more coastal erosion, coastal inundation and contamination of water sources.


There is no clear long term rainfall trend but there is considerable year-to-year variability due to the El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO), which impacts tropical cyclones and wind-driven waves.[5]


The World Bank reports, “Key factors accounting for the differences between women’s and men’s vulnerability to climate change risks include gender-based differences in time use; access to assets and credit; treatment by formal institutions, which can constrain women’s opportunities; limited access to policy discussions and decision-making; and a lack of sex-disaggregated data for policy change.”


Guadalcanal Province is the second most populous of 350 inhabited islands among the 1,000 that make up Solomon Islands. With a total population of approximately 724,462, some 155,605 people live in Guadalcanal Province, the majority residing in the capital, Honiara. Annual maximum and minimum temperatures have increased in Honiara since 1951 – maximum temperatures at a rate of 0.15°C per decade.

A map of Solomon Islands



CAW is being delivered in Guadalcanal Province to improve climate-resilient WASH practices and management for schools, healthcare facilities and communities, and improve access to and sustainability of WASH infrastructure for all.

Building on Plan International Australia’s Water for Women project, New Times, New Targets, completed in 2022, from 2023-2024 this project aims to deliver lasting impact through:

  • Improved systems with increased capacity to support, resource and monitor implementation of climate-resilient and inclusive WASH
  • Improved climate-resilient, safe and inclusive WASH infrastructure and practices in communities, schools and health facilities
  • Improved understanding of gender and inclusion issues, contributing to changed behaviours and agency in communities and institutions
  • Evidence of effective climate-resilient and inclusive WASH approaches provided to the national and global WASH sector, improving Solomon Islands Government and CSO WASH implementation in Solomon Islands.


“The Project will play a critical role in bridging the coordination and knowledge gap between various climate, health, education and administrative actors while supporting much needed climate resilient development in rural Solomon Islands.”

Tom Rankin, Senior WASH Advisor, Plan International Australia

A woman sits on a desk in a school classroom in a rural community in Solomon Islands. She wears a bright orange shirt and her hands are crossed on her lap and she looks directly at the camera with confidence. In the background we see a black board and other classroom materials.

Women are at the forefront of change – as innovators, leaders and teachers – they are the game changers. This teacher from Jeta Primary School in Solomon Islands plays an active role in helping her students understand the importance of good WASH practices. Her school is working with Plan International and Live and Learn Environmental Education as part of their Water for Women project. When women’s voices are valued, community WASH outcomes are strengthened – this is a critical connector for building climate resilience (Plan International and Live and Learn Environmental Education)

View photo updates from our work in Solomon Islands


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Solomon Islands country summary thumbnail

This project is an extension of New Times, New Targets delivered from
2018 - 2022.

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Community-to-catchment planning for inclusive, climate-resilient WASH systems in Solomon Islands

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WASH-related climate challenges for this project

  • 58% of the rural population practice open defecation.
  • 34% of the rural population do not have access to an improved water supply.
  • 88% of healthcare facilities do not have a functioning water supply.
  • Harmful social norms and beliefs about gender roles continue to limit women’s participation in WASH decision-making and community leadership positions, despite being largely responsible for household WASH needs and at the frontline of climate responses.


“When we work in the communities around the schools and clinics that we are also working in, we see a change in behaviours both in schools and in the homes.”

Fiona Laeta, WASH Officer, Live and Learn Solomon Islands 


A father provides a role model for positive masculinity, assisting his child to wash their hands properly after using the newly installed toilet at their home in a community in Solomon Islands (Live and Learn Environmental Education Solomon Islands and Plan International Solomon Islands)



Climate Adaptive and Inclusive WASH in Solomon Islands aims to reach the following beneficiaries by the end of 2024:

Direct beneficiaries: 5,249*

  • women and girls: 2,541
  • men and boys: 2,708
  • people with a disability: 525

Indirect beneficiaries: 41,107*


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Plan International Logo in blue
Live & Learn logo

The Australian development assistance program is investing in Solomon Islands to achieve these outcomes. Water for Women is proud to be partnering with Plan International Australia, Live and Learn Environmental Education and local partners in Solomon Islands.

Feature photo: A woman shares her opinion in a community water security improvement planning meeting in rural Solomon Islands (Plan International Australia)


*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.

[1] Notre Dame Global Adaptation Initiative, Country Index, University of Notre Dame (website), n.d., accessed May 2023. 

[2] World Bank Group, Climate Risk Country Profile – Solomon Islands, World Bank, 2021. 

[3] Pacific-Australia Climate Change Science and Adaptation Planning Program, Current and Future Climate of Solomon IslandsSolomon Islands Meteorological Service, Australian Bureau of Meteorology and CSIRO, 2015.

[4] Secretariat of the Regional Pacific Environment Programme, Solomon Islands State of Environment Report 2019, SPREP, 2019. 

[5] Pacific-Australia Climate Change Science and Adaptation Planning Program, Current and Future Climate of Solomon Islands.


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