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Project report

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

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. Recognising 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.

The project recognises government as a critical change agent and has been working with them to design and implement a water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) plan that reflects their priorities, capacity development needs and service delivery approaches. WaterAid has also been supporting government and partners to implement a gender action plan. that seeks to empower women as leaders in the sector and support people with disabilities to have greater voice in decision making.

The project promotes a learning orientated approach to monitoring and performance. Lessons and insights have informed course corrections, guided project direction and been shared with sector stakeholders to influence implementation of the PNG National WASH Policy.

Key Project Activities

  • Baseline studies of both the WASH status and Gender Equality Disability and Social Inclusion (GEDSI) were undertaken, working with local survey staff to collect data on WASH and GESDI status in Wewak district.  
  • WaterAid in partnership with local government and healthcare workers has been working to promote good hygiene practices. In particular, the Healthy Island approach, which aims to address hygiene and broader health issues in the community, has been rolled out.   
  • WASH implementation has commenced in close collaboration with East Sepik Council of Women. The project is promoting women’s leadership at both the institutional and community level 
  • At community level, implementation of the Healthy Islands approach has involved establishment of Village Development Committees (VDCs). Women from the communities have been given specific leadership roles and responsibilities within these VDCs, to implement hygiene behaviour change in their respective communities. 
  • Village Development Committees were set up to monitor the community cleanliness and hygiene improvement initiatives, starting with village development plans that communities agree on during the Healthy Islands program. The importance of practicing good sanitation is emphasised in the program, promoting households to construct latrines.  

Key Project Outcomes

  • Government officers used the mWater application to collect data on WASH facilities in 6 Local Level Governments (LLGs), 179 rural communities, 112 schools, 27 health care facilities in the district, as well as 382 households in Wewak Urban LLG. Based on this, a 5-year district WASH Plan was developed as well as the first annual implementation plan (2020).  
  • Healthy Island hygiene behaviour change trainings have further modelled the community and local government-led approach. This training had been provided to 1,698 people (790 women and 908 men) and included 41 people with disabilities (16 women and 25 men) in 11 villages, in 3 LLGs. 
  • Gender Equality Disability and Social Inclusion (GEDSI) in WASH baseline analysis included data collected from 149 people including key informant interviews and focus group discussions with women, men and people with disabilities from two urban and two rural communities, as well as members of the WASH coordination body.


Ms. Sandra is a primary school teacher and was elected as the women representative of her village. In her community, men are always the spokespeople and dominate discussion. There was a need for women’s voices to be heard in the community. Through Healthy Islands training, men are beginning to understand and appreciate the roles of women in the community.

Ms. Sandra raised the concern, on behalf of women in her community, that the river they live along and depend on for all household activities is now heavy polluted. They have no toilets. Women in the village face difficulty in collecting water for cooking and drinking. It is also a burden to take their kids to the nearest aid post for treatment of water related diseases.

As she is now a representative on the Health & Hygiene Committee, she can speak freely in her community to address women issues during community meetings. She looks forward to working with her fellow women and men to make their village healthier and take ownership of the WASH services that will be implemented in her village. 

What’s Next?

The project will continue to support improved, equitable and inclusive WASH service delivery for Wewak District, East Sepik Province, as well as empowering 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 expected results:

  • 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

How was it 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.