In Field Ready’s commitment to increase local capabilities and localized resources in every country program, the Pacific Region has made a Mobile Makerspace that equips local responders to address repair needs during an on-set of a disaster. One of the main goals of this asset is to increase WASH related capabilities in villages including water sources.
The Pacific, being a region with many islands, relies on diverse water sources, including rivers, wells, and rainwater. This comes with unique challenges. Factors such as climate variability and increasing water demand necessitate a holistic approach to water management. This backdrop sets the stage for the innovative solutions brought forth by Field Ready using the Mobile Makerspace.
Rainwater harvesting emerges as one of the cheap, sustainable, and community-centric solution. This time-tested practice involves capturing and storing rainwater for various uses, offering an environmentally friendly alternative to conventional water sources. Field Ready recognizes the potential of rainwater harvesting in addressing water scarcity and has integrated this approach into its interventions. In Fiji alone, 16.18% of the population has a limited hygiene access due to lack of water sources for handwashing and sanitation.
Fiji’s Ministry of Health has identified two villages for Field Ready to assess and respond to WASH related repairs and improvements. These two were Naloto Village, a coastal village in the main island of Viti Levu, and Waikonadawa Settlement in a different island called Vanua Levu. Field Ready's journey begins with comprehensive assessments in these villages. The mission focused on crucial WASH facilities, including tank repairs, the creation of an InstaLatrine shelter, and the highest needs that was identified in the assessments – an improved rainwater harvesting system.
A crucial equipment to improve a household’s rainwater harvesting system that is part of Field Ready's Mobile Makerspace, is the Guttering Machine. This technology simplifies the construction of gutter forms that can be done in the field. A model of an on-site production of WASH related needs. The Guttering Machine not only streamlines the process but also informs communities and government partners by introducing them with tools to maintain, improve, repair and expand their water harvesting infrastructure.
Field Ready’s approach involved the community in every deployment of the Mobile Makerspace. The deployment team included a WASH Specialists, Field Engineers, and a Disaster Management Officer. A diverse team that worked with the community through teaching them on repair approaches that uses basic household tools and educate them better on WASH standards (i.e., Positioning pit latrines in a coastal household in Naloto.). Despite the time and weather challenges, the active participation of villagers made the deployment educational and enriching for all involved.
The deployment in Waikodawa Settlement which is a village in another island called Vanua Levu in Fiji, is the Mobile Makerspace’s first showcase of how mobile this rapid repair toolkit can go across a body of water. This elevates the asset’s importance on being a part of a response toolkit for every responder that needs local repair tools in remote islands. A reach that Field Ready is constantly working on to fill the needs of communities in the most remote areas, leaving no one behind.
As Field Ready celebrates the successes achieved in Naloto and Waikonadawa, the organization looks ahead to the future of the Mobile Makerspace. The vision includes expanding the role of the Mobile Makerspace, reaching more villages, encouraging more aid sector partnerships, and implementing sustainable WASH solutions. Field Ready's commitment goes beyond Fiji. The organization is looking to build more Mobile Makerspaces in other countries such as Vanuatu, Samoa and the Solomon Islands in the coming years.
Field Ready’s Mobile Makerspace will be an asset of a scaled response. Scale in local capacity and knowledge. Scale in repair tools kits. Scale in response reach. And scale in aid response capabilities.