New Zealand Prime Minister RT Jacinda Ardern visited the Tamavua I Wai settlement in Suva yesterday which is a demonstration site for Revitalising Informal Settlements and Their Environment (RISE) programme. RISE is a research-based consortium of institutions, led by Monash University, working to introduce low-tech sanitation technology into informal settlements in Fiji.
The Fiji National University (FNU) is a proud partner of the RISE Project through research and data collection and analysis. The project will see improved access to essential water and sanitation for 12 rural communities in Fiji. FNU is thankful to the NZ Government for their invaluable support towards this project.
Working with communities, governments, local leaders and partner institutions, RISE is co-designing location-specific solutions that integrate green infrastructure, such as constructed wetlands, to strengthen the whole-of-life water and sanitation cycle.
New Zealand Prime Minister the Rt Honourable Jacinda Arden participated in a soil turning event at Tamavua-i-wai village yesterday to mark the commencement of construction of RISE project in Fiji. The symbolic soil turning follows the New Zealand Government’s pledge of NZ$3 million to the programme over three years – to fund civil works upgrades for the first six informal settlements in Suva.
Hon Arden said RISE was important to New Zealand for the reason that “this programme is making sure it meets future challenges.”
“Because it’s not just about making sure there is good infrastructure, that we have good sanitation going forward – that’s very important. But it has to be sustainable.”
“We have to build resilient communities. And so I really commend RISE, because you are factoring that into the work that you are doing and making sure that this projects lasts and can be replicated elsewhere,” she said.
Late last year, RISE project funded a multimillion-dollar first of its kind laboratory based at FNU’s School of Public Health in Tamavua, Suva for the management of the data collected in Fiji.
The laboratory has state-of-the-art-equipment, some of which is a first for the Pacific. Among them are a cutting-edge Endetec that detects chemical and biological contaminants in water and a shaking water bath that steadily mixes samples in a constant temperature for biological testing.
Visiting RISE researchers run training in different methods of testing environmental samples, with the longer-term aim of upskilling the local team and empowering them in the collection and analysis of environmental and ecological samples in Suva.
Head of Epidemiology and Environmental Health at FNU’s College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, Dr Amelia Turagabeci is working with the team from Monash University on the research in Fiji.
NZ PM Honorable Jacinda Arden with the villagers of Tamavua-I-wai.