As we have mentioned before, here at the ATprojects Centre we look after a number of beehives and every now and then we see the rewards of looking after these bees. This week we collected almost 20kg of honey from only eight beehive frames, this was a tremendous harvest and to make the work of harvesting the honey easier we sometime ago purchased a simple hand operated honey extractor [see picture]. While we do keep some of the honey for ourselves and some for our accommodation facility most of this honey and the honey that will be harvested over the next few weeks will be sold to the major honey distributor in the Highlands.
Following a number of health and hygiene lessons after the building of new toilets and water supply facilities at Mapemo Early Learning Centre, the ATprojects Health Team went back to the Centre in May to evaluate the lessons. The feedback from teachers and students was very positive and almost everyone said they learned new things about health & hygiene, the explanations were clear and the contents of the lessons were relevant to the children. The teachers commented “The students were very interested to the lesson that you taught them. They can still remember the five steps to wash their hands after using the toilet and put their rubbish in the right place”.
Due to the financial obligations requested by Oxfam, ATprojects has recruited a new Accounts Officer Philemon Iru, who will be working on the Oxfam project. He has been busy keeping track of the financials for the project and making sure all the appropriate documentation is place. Philemon is using a “FileMaker” based project manage system developed here at ATprojects that ensure that all materials, transport, labour and other expenses are account for. The program also allows for the information to be transferred to the client, [on regular intervals]. Philemon is a graduate of Goroka Business Collage and is from Madang Province. While a new employee, he has made an impressive start.
As part of a joint project between UNICEF, AROB, Tinputz Technical College and ATprojects, we will be introducing a range of appropriate sanitation options for both schools and communities in Bougainville. And over the past few weeks the project has been building two demonstration toilet options at Tinputz Technical College.
Apart from building these demonstration toilets the activity was also used to train our locally hired Bougainville staff in the construction of these new toilets. This initial training was conducted by one of our senior toilet masons who was working in New Ireland, but was transferred over to Tinputz for two weeks to train our local hired staff.
What is becoming very clear is that there is a huge demand for these low-cost appropriate toilets. And we are confident that our staff will be kept very busy meeting this demand.
One of the most effective ways to ensure community participation is by using young male and female community volunteers. These volunteers are paid a small allowance as they will be required to work five days a week to ensure that projects are completed on time. However to ensure that these volunteers are able to carry out their work safely, ATprojects has to carry out general work based safety training programs. Also it is very important that we provide all the appropriate safety equipment that will be required by these volunteers. But just providing safety equipment isn’t enough, daily inspections need to be made to make ensure that this equipment is being used and the volunteers know how to work safely. In the picture below volunteers are working on constructing a rainwater catchment and they have been instructed on how to do this in a safe manner. And we are pleased to say that following safety inspections by our client the project at Kabil Village in New Ireland Province has an excellent safety record with no accidents reported to-date. So it looks like the excellent work of a project team leader and his staff in terms of safety training is paying off.
Mapemo is the first of six schools to benefits from the Oxfam Wash project in the Eastern Highlands Province. But this project is not just about new infrastructure, it is also targeting behavioral change within the school particularly focusing on the students. One very important part of this behavior change is showing students how to correctly wash their hands after using the new toilets and before eating. These practical lessons are always great fun and the students are very happy to demonstrate what they have learnt. ATprojects Goroka staff have developed a range of simple to use teaching tools that help the students understand not only the process of correctly washing hands, but also the important health messages that come with these simple exercises. The picture below shows one of the lower grade classes at Mapemo participating hand washing in one of these lessons.
On 15th March the first program funds were received by ATprojects for the Oxfam WASH Program in the Eastern Highlands Province. This means that purchases for the large issues such as water tanks can now be made. The cheque was handed over to ATprojects Co-Director, Mr Steve Layton in the presence of Oxfam’s Mr John Nokue and Ms. Eunice Wotene, [see below].