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Water & Sanitation
Papua New Guinea
This project was implemented by local NGO ATprojects as part of its program of cooperation with Oxfam New Zealand (ONZ). WaterAid Australia has supported ATprojects’ very successful work in PNG since 2004. The overall project aim was to improve the health status of approximately 3,500 students in 10 rural community and primary schools in Daulo District through the provision of safe drinking and hand washing water, sanitation (including hand washing facilities) and health education.
Footprints funding supported these initiatives in one of the district schools.
ATloo construction and use
“The toilets (ATloos) do not smell”
A total of 59 ATloos have been built in 10 schools in the Eastern Highlands. ATloos have been designed by WaterAid’s partner in PNG ATProjects. The ATloo is a Ventilated Improved Pit Latrine (VIP) – pit latrines are commonly used in rural schools (those that have any) but many are poorly built. They key difference to the VIP loo is that is in the ventilation – the vent pipe takes smells away and acts as an insect trap and there is a fly screen. This plays a big part in our essential work – stopping the transmission of disease.
Tanks have been installed in all 10 schools. This means that students and teachers have access to drinking water but also water for hand washing. Soap dishes were also built and soap provided.
ATprojects provided workshops to teachers, the timing and number of these was effective by a 10 week nationwide stop work meeting. ATprojects has developed effective materials and workshops including a very effective germs and worms board game.
HIV/AIDS awareness workshops
ATprojects is one of the few NGOs working in rural schools and also providing HIV/AIDS awareness to upper-grade school children. This has been successful and teachers and parents have been supportive.
Toilet usage rate is high
The observational survey conducted by ATprojects shows that toilet usage is high which suggests that the design of the toilets is appealing and appropriate to children, the method of demonstration of how to use them is successful and from the comments the children made they appreciate having somewhere clean, private and safe to go to the toilet. The usage rate is particularly high for girls which suggests that the methodology of having toilets assigned by gender and grade for use and maintenance is effective.
“The new toilets (ATloos) are good as they have doors to stop boys looking in.”
Soap is not replenished
Although soap dishes have been constructed few schools have replaced soap once the soap provided by the project was finished. Schools consider it too expensive when they can’t even afford educational resources such as exercise books. This is an issue that needs further consideration.
Hand washing after toilet use is only 30%
The low hand washing rates indicate a need to reinforce the hygiene message and the faecal oral transmission of disease. Other methods to reinforce the key messages will be considered within the context of the Eastern highlands of PNG.
“Can ATprojects help me build these toilets (ATloos) in my village?” Was one of the questions from a student – the implementation of the ATprojects household VIP loo that will be more affordable and appropriate for households is an exciting progression of this ongoing program. This will ensure that the behaviour change will be cemented in the children.
(Update posted 08 August 2007)
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