Jen Update 1

An EWB volunteer, Jen Johnstone, went to Ambrym between Oct and Dec 2013 to work with the local community, to identify and design a sustainable engineering solution.

The project video below summarises the progress to date and Jen's stint in the community. 

While on the island, Jen investigated the various options, including a pipeline from the nearest spring, a new rainwater harvesting system, or improving their existing rainwater tanks.

A key part of this stage was community consultation, to ensure that the whole community is on-board. This is important for the sustainability of the project – if the community is fully committed, they will be much more likely to maintain the system adequately and repair it when components need replacing.

Armed with preliminary designs and cost assessments of each of the options, Jen facilitated community consultation meetings and went door-to-door carrying out household surveys, to find out what the opinions were in the community. The household consultations were important in gathering the views of women, the elderly and the disabled, who may not feel that they could talk in community meetings.

The consensus reached was that a new rainwater harvesting system would be the best option. This will provide the community with enough water to drink, wash and cook with throughout the entire year.


The total cost of the project will be around 6 million Vatu (£38,000).  The community agreed to raise around 10% of the total capital cost to show their commitment to the project, and they completed this fundraising in September 2014.  Once the rainwater harvesting system has been built, each household will pay water fees for maintenance and upkeep, and so that they can replace the whole system at the end of its lifespan.