Readers gave $216,000 to the Hidden Pacific campaign, in which Herald journalists Kirsty Johnston and Mike Scott and World Vision ambassador Clarke Gayford travelled to Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands to report on the hardship suffered by those living hand-to-mouth in our backyard.
They met local people who relied on fishing and farming; with limited access to healthcare and education; coping with significant levels of domestic and sexual violence; struggling to adapt to extreme weather and rising sea levels; but who were desperate to improve their lives.
Melanesia has the highest levels of poverty in the Pacific, and more than 80 per cent of the region’s population. Many communities lack access to clean water. Everywhere our journalists went, access to a safe and reliable drinking supply was among the main concerns.
With that in mind, the campaign’s first $100,000 will go towards an urgent water and sanitation project in the Hanuabada village of Port Moresby, where we saw children swimming in piles of rubbish among pole houses.
Over four years, the project will help extend a safe water supply and encourage better sanitation habits across the village.
With the support of Herald readers, and in partnership with the New Zealand Government’s Aid Programme, World Vision will help improve the health of this important indigenous village and ensure its strength in the future.
The extra funding will go towards educational development, grow health care resources and nutritional capability, provide economic development, and build communities’ resilience to disaster and climate change, across the region.
NZME managing editor Shayne Currie said Herald readers could be justly pleased they are helping to make a real, lasting difference to many, many lives in some of the most impoverished places on earth.
“Time and again we’re blown away by the generosity of Herald readers. The amount raised during the Hidden Pacific campaign was testament to your willingness to help others less fortunate,” he said.
“The stories our journalists brought back from Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands shone a light on the reality of life for huge numbers of people in some of the most impoverished places on earth. The strength and resilience of those people came through strongly.”
Chief executive of World Vision New Zealand Chris Clarke said he wanted to thank donors for their generous support.
“In an increasingly fractured and disconnected world, where more and more people don’t even know the names of their next-door neighbours, it says something about the Kiwi character that so many of us have joined us to stand with our Pacific neighbours. New Zealanders have seen the great need here, and responded magnificently,” Clarke said.
“The work still lies ahead for us at World Vision but it has been made possible by Herald readers and our supporters. We will honour this support through our expertise, knowledge, and experience in our work with communities in the Pacific.”
World Vision’s project in the Hanuabada village will improve the health of almost 13,000 people by increasing access to safe drinking water, and improving hygiene and sanitation.
It’s part of Papua New Guinea’s first Water, Sanitation and Hygiene policy, which aims to achieve safe water for 95 per cent, and improved sanitation for 85 per cent of the population in urban centres by 2030