WaterAid started working in Papua New Guinea in 2005. Our aim is to improve the lives of poor communities by improving access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene education. Along with our other country program in the Pacific Region, Timor-Leste, the program is managed by WaterAid in Australia.
Papua New Guinea is a large country with a population of under six million, of whom 80% live in rural, inaccessible areas with few or no public services.
With the monsoon season lasting for around four months each year, seasonal water shortages are commonplace. The country also regularly falls victim to severe droughts.
Access to clean drinking water is an issue for over half of the population and there are large disparities between water and sanitation provision throughout the country. As most rural households depend on unsafe water from rivers, springs, ponds, lakes or dams, preventable yet deadly water-borne illnesses including bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, Hepatitis A and Typhoid are rapidly spread.
ATLoo latrines during construction at a school in the Eastern Highlands.
Credit: WaterAid Australia
In partnership with local NGO ATProjects, WaterAid runs a program bringing water and sanitation to schools, some in very remote rural areas. We chose to work in schools because children are often the most vulnerable to diseases. They are also quick to take on new ideas and take them home to their families.
We have conducted research into the
issue of girls leaving school because of the stigma and humiliation
associated with menstruation. This research has resulted in the
development of appropriate female-friendly sanitation facilities to
encourage girls to stay at school, which of course brings a great many
benefits not only to the girls, but to their future family’s health and
the community as a whole.
We also work with ATProjects to promote of a simple round latrine slab for use by
individual rural households.
We have developed films and radio programs about water and sanitation in order to share information about simple technologies that
communities can utilise. The programs also reinforce key messages about the
importance of improved hygiene (such as hand washing), and the
use of toilets.
WaterAid also supports Oxfam’s village water
and sanitation program in Simbu, Southern Highlands and Bougainville
provinces. This program includes the provision of safe water for people who previously relied on a river which
was dangerously polluted by mining. School attendance has improved there as
children no longer have to collect their family's water.
In East Sepik province we have worked with local NGO HELPResources to complete a
village water supply system. This project was supported by
the European Union-funded Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Program.
Back to top