Partner Housing has a wide range of volunteers working on projects to develop community infrastructure that better serves people. This week we hear from Logan English-Smith, a volunteer working on our water projects in Solomon Islands.
How did you come to be involved with PHA?
I came to know PHA through a client of ours (David Kaunitz) while working at my current job as an engineer. David convinced my boss Ian Warren to start doing some work for PHA. Over time the business has become more and more involved with PHA and Ian is now on the board of Directors. My primary focus as an engineer is on all things related to water so helping to deliver water projects in the Solomon’s aligns very well to my strengths as an engineer.
What is the most fulfilling aspect of the work?
Meeting new people and seeing the communities using and benefiting from the infrastructure we help them build.
In Australia, we take things like accessibility to clean running water for granted but for the women in the communities (who spend a considerable portion of their day walking to collect and carry water for their families) readily accessible water is life changing.
Are there any challenges you've found?
The technical engineering work is relatively straight forward, the hardest part has been community engagement. You can have a great idea for a project and all the funding in the world but if the community aren’t engaged and invested, it’s not going to be a successful solution long term.
What does the future hold for you? What are you excited about in the work being done with PHA?
We have a few different projects going at the moment, notably in the villages of Buri and Patu on Ranongga. At the end of the year Buri is holding a centenary celebration for the Seventh-day Adventist Church and we are helping to provide additional water supply for the school ahead of that.
Long term the water supply is for the school but will be helpful while everyone is staying at the village. It’s a big event for Buri with many people coming in from the surrounding villages to celebrate so I’m happy to be involved in that.
We also have a class of humanitarian studies students from the University of Sydney working with us to come up with some solutions to help us deliver some water projects in the village of Patu on Ranongga. I’m excited to see what they’re able come up with.
Photo (Buri Village), left to right
Tony Ohoau (Plumbing Contractor), Logan English-Smith (PHA), Gregory Patovaki (School Principal), Robin Paul (School Chairman)