WaterAid PNG Wash Project

WaterAid is starting a project in October 2020 to improve access to clean water, sanitation and improved hygiene practices in 12 schools in the East Sepik and Central Provinces of Papua New Guinea (PNG). In collaboration with our partners, school management and local government, WaterAid will construct and rehabilitate water facilities and institutional latrines; deliver handwashing and menstrual hygiene management (MHM) education; and establish and train school health clubs, school staff and facility management Committees to ensure the sustainability of WASH services.

WaterAid expects to reach 3,572 people across the East Sepik and Central Provinces with clean water, sanitation and hygiene during one-year. This includes a total of 3,500 students and 72 teachers who will be reached through water and sanitation interventions and a total of 300 students and 40 teachers/coaches who will be targeted by the hygiene programs in schools.

WaterAid will pursue an integrated approach to WASH in schools, combining access to water and sanitation with the promotion of handwashing and menstrual hygiene messaging. The project will focus on the needs of girls in school by making sure that they receive education on good hygiene practices, including MHM, as well as basic access to safe, private toilets and improved access to clean water at school. The project will empower girls to reach their full potential at school and in life; will help the economy to prosper by enabling girls to attend school regularly and therefore receive an education that will increase the likelihood of professional opportunities in the future; will spread awareness in schools and communities on all WASH services available and will give girls access to facilities and improved knowledge on managing their menstrual health, so they can be healthy, educated and empowered.

The project aims to accomplish the following outcomes:

  1. Improved awareness and knowledge of good hygiene behaviors with a focus on personal and menstrual hygiene management of students in 12 schools: the project will leverage our existing work in hygiene promotion to young girls through sport. In 2017 WaterAid launched a Netball in School program that integrates coaching on life skills, such as self-esteem and good handwashing practices, with drills to improve netball skills.
  2. Improved access to clean water in 12 schools: we will install or rehabilitate 9,000-liter rainwater tanks in every school reached through the project.
  3. Increased access to improved, inclusive and gender-segregated sanitation facilities in 12 schools: we will design and build separate latrine blocks for boys and girls, that are accessible for both able-bodied and students with disabilities, and we will further ensure that MHM facilities are in place.
  4. Improved girls’ participation in sport and community life: by combining messaging on handwashing and MHM with coaching on netball, we will influence girls’ participation in sport, enabling them to lead healthier lives and remove barriers to education.
  5. Strengthened governance at school level with the involvement of WASH Committees: the Committees complement the school Board, providing support in the planning, maintenance, management and governance of school WASH facilities.

Case Study

Implementing sustainable, replicable and contextually appropriate infrastructure is a critical component of WaterAid’s work to improve WASH in schools in Papua New Guinea. Under the current program, WaterAid PNG is installing new rainwater catchment tanks with pipe and guttering systems, sitting atop reinforced cement support bases to provide elevation and protection.

In April 2019, two 9000 litre tank systems with cement bases were installed in Kalo Primary School and Ginigolo Gunugau Primary School, supplying clean water to 609 students each day. In Kalo, 355 students (180 boys and 175 girls) are benefitting directly. In Ginigolo Gunugau 254 students (137 boys and 117 girls) are already better off. A further two schools in Kouderika and Roku have more recently finalized the construction of tanks. Tanks are being installed in one more school in Central Province and at least 2 more schools in East Sepik Province later this year.

Prior to the installation of the tanks in Kalo and Ginigolo Gunugau, teachers and students used buckets to collect water from distant unimproved water sources. In addition, previous experience in other schools has demonstrated that tank installations without appropriately connected drainage systems can result in significant incidental water loss and an elevated risk of contamination: issues of serious concern, especially considering the impending dry season and expected water shortages. The guttering systems, now operational under WaterAid’s program, have reduced the risk of contamination.

Managing water usage is an underappreciated but invaluable link in the water chain. Engineering the controlled usage of water into the system itself minimizes spillage. With this in mind, water containers with taps and soap dispensers are intended to be adopted as hand washing station adjuncts to these already improved tank systems.


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