GOTOMI PRIMARY SCHOOL – Opens 12 VIP Latrines

By Delilah Kamila (Engineer at ATprojects)
Gotomi Primary School located in the Lufa District in the Eastern Highlands Province is about a 90 minute drive from Goroka. It has 500 pupils with a total 15 teachers residing in the school campus. Proper Water and Sanitation is a big problem facing this school for years now. This school has only one 1000ltrs water tank available and no proper toilets for the students to use. During dry periods, the school used to hire a truck for K100 once a week to travel 30 minutes to get fresh water from the creek for the teachers and the students for drinking and cooking. In long dry periods they close the school.
However, last week the school opened the first of their 12 VIP latrines after the school headmistress, one of their senior teachers and the OIC for the Gotomi Health Center attended a WASH in school workshop run by TTU and ATprojects. “After the training, it was a big challenge for me as a headmistress to do something for the school, and now we have the newly built VIP latrines ready to be use by the students” Said the headmistress at the opening. She also said that; good WASH in school and now with the new latrines constructed is essential to ensure a learning environment that enables children to reach their full mental and physical potential. They will still have to build 13 more VIP latrines for the teachers.
The school used the standard Round Loo slab produced by the ATprojects and built their latrines themselves after the training with the ATprojects last year. They built 6 latrines for male students and 6 for the female students each for each grades (Grade 3-Grade 8). This school wants to be the model school for the other schools in the Lufa District. They were very happy with the training and assistance from the ATprojects. The school wants to work closely with the surrounding communities, Gotomi Health Centre and also with the Gotomi Vocational School to promote the importance of health and hygiene and building more VIP latrines

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OUR SMALL CHRISTMAS CLUB

For a number of year now ATprojects has run a small Christmas club thereby staff invests a small amount of money at the beginning of the year and then lends money to all our staff during the year and their investment and profit is paid out just before the Christmas holidays. And this year we has a payout of almost K20,000 or a 85% profit on everyone’s investment. And so on Friday just before closing time all the club members came to collect they payout, including our youngest investor Mr Fernando Frank [see picture] the son of our account Hariha and his wife Vero.

OXFAM SANITATION TRAINING

Last week ATprojects ran a sanitation training course in a village that has become a model community for the Asaro Valley. This training was not targeting the community, but approximately 25 health and education offices who were just about to finish a classroom-based training program in Goroka. What was quite unusual about this training was that the participants are not just focusing on the theoretical benefits of good sanitation, but as part of this training they are required to actually go into a rural community and build two toilets themselves. And for many of the participants who are both male and female this is the first time they’ve actually had to construct a toilet.

NEW SANITATION FACILITIES

Following a recent sanitation training program in North Bougainville, there are many happy young female students. The site of the training which was a large Catholic primary school which now has new toilet facilities as well as I washroom for female students. The buildings was constructed using funds from UNICEF, (The picture shows 2 of ATprojects staff standing outside the new girls toilet and washing facility) and it is now open and ready for use. These facilities will make an important difference not only to the school, but in particular it’s female students.

SOlAR LIGHTING

Following a number of break-ins, the YWCA hostile in Goroka decided that they would like to upgrade their security lighting system. And as part of this upgrade the YWCA decided to ask ATprojects to supply and install four solar street lights around they hostile. Using the same solar lighting system that is currently used at the ATprojects Centre, this week our staff started the installation of these new solar lights. These new solar lights will provide light during the many blackouts that are common place in Goroka Town.

A FOLLOW-UP SURVEY IN NOKON VILLAGE, NIP

The first project completed for the Newcrest Mining Tax Credit Scheme was a large water and sanitation project in Nokon village. The findings below is a sample of the follow-up survey conducted of 23 families, 1 year after the project intervention:

Open defecation (in the sea & bush) decreases from 74% to 0%

Washing hands consistently after using toilet increases from 26% to 55%

Washing hands consistently before eating increases from 4% to 85%

Washing food before cooking or washing fruits and vegetables before eating increases from 13% to 90%

Throwing rubbish into the sea as a common practice decreases from 26% to 0%

Other common practices polluting the sea such as defecating, throwing babies’ faeces or disposable menstrual pads have also completely stopped

Diarrhoea cited as one of the last 3 sicknesses in the family decreases from 61% to 25%

100% of the families like the new toilets, describing them as ‘healthy, easy to wash and close to their homes’

100% of the families think the new toilets have improved their quality of life

100% of the families like the new water supply systems describing the water as ‘fresh, cold, healthy, close to their homes and easy to fetch’

95% of the families think the new water supply systems have improved their quality of life. Note that the other 5% claims that some families take ownership over the rain catchments and do not allow them to fetch water.

Overall a great result for the Nokon community, Newcrest Mining and ATprojects.

CHALLENGES – EVERY LITTLE HELPS

The best comparative database source for PNG’s development progress, focused around internationally agreed sustainable development goals, is the ADB Basic Statistics publication – most recently updated in April 2017. ANd it’s not looking good for Papua New Guinea. But every little effort helps, and ATprojects is making efforts to improve Papua New Guinea’s development goals. The following list provides just some key comparative information – and it generally makes for some pretty sad reading:

 ▪ The Proportion of Population Using Improved Drinking Water Sources is 40%, by far one of the lowest of the world. But ATprojects has been working in rural communities to build improved access to drinking water sources of almost 20 years and tens of thousands of people have benefited from our projects.

 ▪ The Proportion of Population Using Improved Sanitation Facilities is 18.9%, one of the lowest of the world. But here again ATprojects is working to provide greater access to technologies and designs that have helped thousands of people to own a toilet that provides their families with improved toilet.
 ▪ The proportion of the population with access to electricity is 20.3%, once again significantly lower that most of the world. But ATprojects has installed hundreds of solar lighting unit in rural and sometime remote health facilities renewable.

We know we need to do more, but as we say “ every litter helps”