$142.6m assistance

The Fiji Times:

Thursday, 26 November 2015

A $142.6million Japanese Government-funded project which began in 2009 is benefiting more than 411,000 across 14 Pacific Island countries.

In Fiji, the Pacific environment community fund has spent $4.97m to assist 1000 households receive solar powered electricity and $3.67m to establish seven desalination plants to bring water to 743 people on four islands.

Jonathan Mitchell from the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, who is also the project manager of the PEC Fund, said the benefits to Fiji and the broader Pacific community were immeasurable.

"In this regard we would like to acknowledge the Japanese Government for their assistance," he said.

Principal technical officer at the Ministry of Energy Frank Rokowaqa said the PEC fund had given rural dwellers increased opportunities.

"When this solar project was implemented it really improved their livelihood and income generating activities," he said.

"Women in places like Nairai where their source of livelihood is mat weaving, they have reported that they are able to weave more mats because of the solar powered lights."

Mr Rokowaqa said villagers paid a rental of $18 a month and the Energy Ministry looked after the servicing and maintenance of the equipment.

"The power source is 270watts, so we install five lights and power point which allows them to operate radio or television.

"The impact of this project is really encouraging. Most of these people were using kerosene lights before and per family, their kerosene bill would have been around $22 a month."

Read story: The Fiji Times

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