Australian and New Zealand Defence Force members of the Solomons’ International Assistance Force recently celebrated the completion of three ADF-led community infrastructure projects together with the Gilbert Camp community in the Solomon Islands.
CAPTION: Lieutenant Colonel Glenn Mackenzie (right), Commanding Officer of Operation Lilia, cuts the ribbon on water tanks delivered through an ADF-led community infrastructure project at a handover event in the Gilbert Camp community. Story by Sergeant Felicity Richardson and Major Simon Hampson. Photo by Warrant Offer Class 1 Bruce McLean.
Community leaders held a handover ceremony in late September to commemorate the occasion and honour key contributors to the project.
The Australian Government-funded project was delivered through the ADF and included the installation and construction of two 5000-litre and 14 10,000-litre water tanks across six community churches.
All churches received guttering, plumbing, distribution taps and solar lighting. An additional 30 solar lights were distributed and installed throughout the Gilbert Camp community to improve safety in the area.
Women’s group leader Karina Paineitala Aubira expressed the community’s gratitude, highlighting its long struggle in obtaining clean water.
“This gift of light and water, water from god, provided by our brothers here, thank you so much,” Ms Aubira said.
CAPTION: Water tanks were installed at Bethany Church in Gilbert Camp Community as part of an ADF-led community infrastructure project handed over in September 2023.
Operation Lilia Commanding Officer Lieutenant Colonel Glenn Mackenzie officially handed over the new infrastructure during a ribbon-cutting ceremony and said he was humbled by the honour and the success of the community projects.
“Providing clean drinking water and lighting will have a long-lasting impact on the community of Gilbert Camp, improving the health and wellbeing as well as providing safe passage for community members,” Lieutenant Mackenzie said.
The ADF worked with Solomon Islands company Island Enterprises Ltd, with their local workforce, who completed the majority of the work over two months.