Cash-for-work programme for Port Vila cleanup
Groups of residents in Vanuatu's capital, Port Vila, are being paid by an aid agency to clean up some of the neighbourhoods worst-hit by Cyclone Pam last month.
Groups of residents in Vanuatu's capital, Port Vila, are being paid by an aid agency to help clean up some of the neighbourhoods worst-hit by cyclone Pam last month.
The organisation, Caritas, says the two-week scheme aims to help clear damaged areas to help the town move into a rebuilding phase and the workers are being paid with the aim of reinvesting in the local economy.
The Humanitarian Programmes Co-ordinator for Caritas in New Zealand, Mark Mitchell, told Jamie Tahana the scheme has been successful so far, and he hopes it will lead to further work projects for those involved.
Mark Mitchell says Caritas is hoping to move the programme to other affected provinces in coming weeks.
MARK MITCHELL: We've been working with local community members from the churches and youth groups around the Port Vila region doing some clean-up of the streets and neighbourhoods. There is a lot of wind-blown debris that has gone into ditches and so on and we go around just clearing that up, using that local labour. It's providing income. It's putting money back into the local economy so it's using young people who have not had access to their jobs and gives income for them and obviously supports their families. It also clears the neighbourhoods but also you have a lot of debris and so on of ditches which are used for taking rain water away. It's been raining a lot over the last few days and obviously if the ditches are blocked you have more of a likelihood of flooding and obviously what we don't want at this stage is further flooding.
JAMIE TAHANA: So you are actually employing these people?
MM: We are providing a wage as such. Minimum wage levels. So they go around the streets with some basic tools and equipment to clear those side streets.
JT: And of course this provides spending money and such as well as cleaning up the streets.
MM: Absolutely. People are desperate for money to make the repairs to their own houses in addition to the materials that are handed out by the various different aid agencies. So they can go to the local markets and it is very much injecting cash into the local economy which is, as you can imagine, so important at a time like this.
JT: How many people are involved with this?
MM: We have a team of 54 involved. They're broken up into three groups and working in different suburbs around Port Vila.
JT: How much area would you have covered? How much work has been done since this started?
MM: We've been working for the last tow or three days. We actually started on Monday, the days just blend into each other. I've certainly seen them in different places. I couldn't tell you how many metres or kilometres they've actually covered at this stage.
JT: How long will this last? Once debris is cleared up will they move onto doing other things as such?
MM: The project is a two week project where the teams go through and they support and clean out the local suburbs and there will be other programmes ongoing from this. It's a programme where the cash is provided to the volunteers and then it provides them with the opportunity to go on and continue rebuilding their own homes and the recovery phase of the programme for Caritas will be looking at other livelihood opportunities.
JT: Other livelihood opportunities being things such as?
MM: We are looking at agricultural programmes. Again the potential to work with other organisations providing agricultural support. Chickens is an option, chicken-rearing, but it depends on the location in which we will be working. Some of the finer details of the recovery programme are still to be worked through.
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