Honiara, 07 September - The first instalment of the Tina River Hydropower Development Community Benefit Sharing Program (CBSP) has reached its closing phase and planning for the second iteration, set to deliver even more community benefits, is now underway. Since its inception in 2019, many lives have been positively impacted in the Tina project catchment through community-based programs covering areas such as pre-employment training, vocation training, WASH (water and sanitation) and rural electrification.
Programs delivered under the first CBSP model have positively impacted many rural communities in the Tina catchment and are evident in improved infrastructure, income-generating opportunities, and vibrant communities. The most significant and transformational affects can be best seen through the improvement of physical infrastructure such as power and water supply. Previous to the implementation of the CBSP water supply program, women and children would walk for hours to fetch water on a daily basis. This has now been reduced to mere minutes as the installed systems deliver a fresh water supply directly to the villages.
CBSP Coordinator Francis Kapini said the closing out process for the first CBSP program marks a significant milestone for the project after 5 years of successful implementation and involved several crucial steps. “During a four-month period which started at the end of May, documents have been reconciled to balance out all eligible payments under the project disbursements allocation.” He goes on to say there will be a final audit, scheduled for September, to ensure the proper closure of phase 1.
The team are now busy planning for CBSP “2” and taking on board valuable lessons learnt from the first program. “One important lesson is recognising we have more work to do to ensure the equal distribution of benefits across the larger region comprising of over 60 communities. The project design of CBSP 2 aims to ensure all communities affiliated with the core land site of the Dam, benefit from the program, “says Mr Kapini. He goes on to add, “Another lesson noted was in regard to the immediate impacted area in the upper catchment of the dam, which has led to the proposed installation of water supplies in those areas.”
Taking on board these insights, the CBSP 2 design will incorporate improvements and modifications based on the lessons learned. Component 1 will continue to focus on testing the fund and building community capacity to manage it and component 2 extends water and power supply to areas previously unreached. Notably component 3, which focuses on training and job opportunities, has been redesigned to be more relevant and inclusive. It will move from being an exclusive study approach to more hands-on, catering to both schooled and unschooled individuals with a focus on addressing income generation and agriculture in the communities.
The anticipated benefits and outcomes of CBSP 2 are far reached and expected to provide broader community coverage. With the operationalisation of the CBSP Fund as a tangible entity for future community development and more money being invested in the benefit sharing program, CBSP 2 is expected to enable even more comprehensive initiatives. With community involvement and long-term sustainability plans in place, the future looks promising for the continued development and transformation of the local Tina communities.
The Tina River Hydropower Development Project is being implemented by the Solomon Islands Government with financing and support from the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, the Asian Development Bank, the Government of Australia, the Green Climate Fund, Korea EX-IM Economic Development Cooperation Fund, and the World Bank.