Goroka district in Eastern Highlands launches EU-UNICEF WASH project

11 October 2018
A child pumping water from the spout.
A child pumping water from the spout.

GOROKA, 11 OCTOBER 2018 – A project that will improve water, sanitation and hygiene (WaSH) services in 50 schools, nine health centres and 200 communities was launched today in Goroka, Eastern Highlands.

The 5-year project, which is expected to positively impact productivity, health and well-being of people of Goroka, is supported by the European Union (EU) and will be implemented by UNICEF and the Government of Papua New Guinea.

The project was launched today at the National Park in Goroka by the EU Ambassador,Ioannis Giogkarakis-Argyropoulos UNICEF Country Representative Mr. David Mcloughlin, Governor of Eastern High Province, Hon. Peter Numu, and Goroka Open Member of Parliament. Hon. Henry Tutuwo Ame.

“Poor sanitation, unsafe water and unhygienic practices are major causes of preventable illness and deaths especially in children. Access to safe water, improved sanitation and hygiene practices are essential for the survival and development of children and wellbeing of people in general,” said David Mcloughlin, UNICEF Country Representative.   He noted that “UNICEF is committed to working with government, partners and the people of Goroka to mobilize communities to promote behavioural change through community-driven actions and solutions.”

The Goroka District Development Authority will work with OXFAM, a non-government organisation to develop a five-year plan and implement the project.  In addition to improving WaSH services in 50 schools and nine health centres, the project will also reach 200 beneficiary communities living around the selected schools and health facilities in the district through hygiene promotion initiatives aimed at encouraging improved hygiene practices in families and communities.

The European Union has been supporting access to clean water and sanitation in PNG through successive Rural Water Supply and Sanitation projects since the 1990's. These projects resulted in access to safe water for over 200,000 people especially in remote areas.

Word-wide, EU provided over €130 million (PGK 500 million) for WaSH oriented projects in 2017. The support is based on the organisation’s recognition that lack of access to clean water and basic sanitation increases the vulnerability of populations to several diseases and is a major obstacle to social and economic development.

“This project will contribute towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals through improved access to WaSH services, reduced infant morbidity and mortality, poverty alleviation, reduced chronic malnutrition and stunting. It will also improve maternal and child health and education outcomes which are major contributors to a country’s economic growth.

The new project is also expected to significantly impact the quality of life of women, men and children in Goroka by enabling a healthier and safer living environment," EU Ambassador Ioannis Giogkarakis-Argyropoulos said.

Three additional districts of Hagen Central District in Western Highlands Province, Nawaeb District in Morobe, and Central Bougainville Region of AROB, which have already launched the project, will also benefit from this programme.

Overall, 160,000 people, including 40,000 children from 200 schools, 36 health centres and 800 neighbouring communities across all the four districts in Papua New Guinea will have benefitted from improved access to WaSH services at the end of the project in 2021.

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