Access to clean water in rural village communities

Most of the population of Milne Bay Province of Papua New Guinea live a traditional lifestyle.  Many are living below the poverty line with few opportunities for employment or enterprise.

Only 32% of the population have access to ‘improved’ water supplies and water borne diseases such as diahorrea and skin disease are rife.

Poor health hinders people’s livelihood and stops people from being able to fully participate in their communities.

Water collecting remains largely the responsibility of women and children who walk long distances to collect from wells, springs and rivers. Furthermore, the lack of education within communities regarding sanitation and hygiene contributes to illness and mortality.

The Rural Village Water Project aims to improve family and overall community health and productivity by providing access to a safe water supply. By reducing the time taken to access clean water women are able to contribute to the sustainable development of their community.

Access to clean water is provided to villages through pipelines to taps, seesaw pumps, hand pumps, electric pumps and petrol pumps and reticulated water supplies to taps in the villages. Workshops and training are also provided to the community to raise awareness of hygeiene, sanitation and health.  The objective of this project is to assist in increasing health indicators and reducing the level of poverty  in selected villages through the provision of safe, sustainable water supplies.

This project has now been running since 2002. In that time it has reached rural village communities across Milne Bay Province and Central Province.

Over the past year much progress has been made in supplying improved water sources and sanitation facilities to remote communities in Papua New Guinea. This has included three gravity feed water supply systems in three villages as well as the installation of sanitation facilities.

In addition, education and training programs have been carried out that focus on health, hygiene and sanitation.

The provision of training and awareness in the prevention of HIV & AIDS has also been highlighted as critical in a country where more than 2% of the population are HIV positive.

Awareness raising has also been carried out in local schools, which has provided another means for people to learn more about health and sanitation issues and to become involved in the water and sanitation projects.

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