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Project details

Promote inclusive access to water, sanitation and hygiene in Papua New Guinea Papua New Guinea , RUN BY: WaterAid Australia | STATUS: COMPLETED

This project is 100% Funded



AUD 25,015

Raised from 6,580 people

Project background

Wewak District is located within the north coast of Papua New Guinea and is one of six districts within the East Sepik Province. Only 37% of rural communities have access to a safe water supply. Many communities use unsafe traditional water sources and less than 1% of households in rural areas have a hand-washing facility near their toilet, compounding the risk of disease transmission.

The project aims to create models that can be replicable and scalable, increasing inclusive, district-wide access to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH). 

Population data from communities in Wewak District show that the islands have the highest need in the district, with 14 communities having no sanitation facilities at all. New water supplies are needed where there are only unimproved sources. The lack of water supply and the high water table on the islands makes it impossible to construct traditional pit latrines without contaminating water sources used for drinking water.

The project has completed a gender and social inclusion study which informed the WASH plan and ensures that the implementation is completed in an inclusive manner to ensure scalable, effective strategies for inclusive access to WASH. 

Project overview

Access to safe drinking water and sanitation are human rights, essential for life, health, dignity, empowerment and prosperity. WaterAid embraces the principles of equality and non-discrimination to ensure universal access to water, sanitation and hygiene. In recognition of gender based inequalities that prevent women and girls from enjoying their right to water and sanitation on an equal basis to men and boys, WaterAid works to strengthen systems that contribute to broader gender equality and social inclusion.

This project aims to support an improvement in the delivery of WASH services for Wewak District, East Sepik Province in Papua New Guinea. Not only will this promote more inclusive, equitable and sustainable access to the services but it will also promote the empowerment of women and people with disabilities. This will be achieved through support for the creation of, and effective participation in, decision-making fora associated with WASH service delivery, with the following goals: 

  • Women and people with disabilities participate in community development processes to address their needs and influence decision making, particularly in relation to the management of WASH services. 
  • Uptake and use of scalable, effective strategies for increasing inclusive, district-wide access to WASH by government and non-government agencies. 
  • WASH service levels in Wewak District have improved over time with sustainable and inclusive models for service delivery being implemented. 

Action-research will be undertaken to assess evidence of change and inform more effective ways of working in the District and the wider counts. Annual case studies will be developed exploring how and why change happened in relation to WASH, women in leadership and gender-based violence.

Project activities

The implementation of this project is expected to have the following impact on the communities:

  • A rural community water supply program will ensure that 712 people in Wom and Ibab village will have access to clean and safe drinking water.
  • 1,103 Women, men and children of Bruan on Kairiru Island, small Mushu and Subabru on Walis Island, will be trained on long term behavior change practices including safe handling, storing and use of drinking water; safe disposal of infant excreta; hand washing with soap and safe and appropriate solid waste disposal which will lead to open defection free islands.
  • The district-wide hygiene work includes a “tok save” which is Tok Pisin for announcement or notice on a bill shock campaign aimed at reducing rates of disconnections from the water supply by informing customers about billing and reducing “bill shock”. This promotes responsible water usage as for a large part of the population this is the first time to have access to water supply.

What's covered in project cost

WaterAid is tackling barriers on Wewak Islands by: 

  • Delivering a community rural water supply program in communities
  • Delivering a Healthy Islands program for rural communities
  • Delivering a district-wide hygiene campaigns
  • Technical support

Partners and community involvement

The project is implemented with the following organisations:

  • Wewak District Development Authority: sector coordination, planning, service delivery and monitoring.
  • East Sepik Provincial Government: provincial coordination, communication, collaboration and learning amongst districts and stakeholders.
  • East Sepik Council of Women: implementation of the Gender Action Plan, driving promotion of women’s leadership, empowerment and participation in decision making.
  • Assembly of Disabled Persons and Wewak DPO: national advocacy agenda to embed socially inclusive approaches in WASH policy implementation and provide technical expertise and training on inclusive WASH.
  • Christian Health Services: development of capacity and sharing of knowledge as a process for promoting sanitation and hygiene behaviors.
  • National Research Institute: action-research exploring women in leadership and gender based violence as related to WASH sector systems and services.
  • National Department of Planning and Monitoring: national learning events for sector stakeholders to share experiences and debate policy implications.
  • National Department of Provincial and Local-Level Government Affairs: engagement of provincial and district administrations.

Part of a larger strategy

The project recognizes government as a critical change agent, positioning them at the centre of development processes and works with them to design and implement an inclusive WASH plan that reflects their priorities, capacity development needs and service delivery approaches. Papua New Guinea has finalized 5-year WASH plans at district level and is fully committed to contributing to the global effort to achieve Sustainable Development Goal #6 “Ensure access to water and sanitation for all” by 2030.

How was this funded?

Thanks to hundreds of tiny donations from these online businesses and their customers.

World Nomads USA
World Nomads Canada
Travel Insurance Direct AU
Travel Insurance Direct NZ
World Nomads Australia
World Nomads NZ
World Nomads UK
World Nomads Global
World Nomads Europe
World Nomads Ireland
WaterAid Australia

Over 650 million people in the world don’t have access to safe, clean water to drink, and over two billion don’t have sanitation. WaterAid Australia is an international NGO dedicated exclusively to the provision of safe domestic water, sanitation and hygiene education to the world’s poorest people.