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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Sometime ago ATprojects had its own website that people could go to and see what we are doing in terms of development work here in Papua New Guinea. However, a “hacker” in the USA decided to completely block our website and wanted us to pay him or her over US$1,000 to unblock the site and you can imagine where we told him/her to go! However, the staff member at ATprojects that is responsible for all of our communications has put together a new site and we will be releasing the address in the coming weeks, so please watch this space.