We don't have to go to the sea to wash our hands now
Making safe drinking water accessible to schools
05 July 2023, Port Moresby – Macklyn Yabak is a Grade 6 student at Tamar Primary School on Tumleo Island in Sandaun Province, Papua New Guinea.
She is one of 146,000 students that is benefitting from the Education in Emergency Response and Recovery Program (EERRP) implemented by UNICEF with funding support from the Government of Australia.
"Before, we had no water for drinking and for washing our hands at school because there was no water or even a handwashing place where we could wash our hands," Macklyn explains.
"It was not possible for us to wash our hands at any time we wanted. We never washed our hands that often. For example, after using the toilet, I would just go back straight to the classrooom, like all the other students used to do, without first washing my hands. But sometimes when we felt our hands were dirty, especially after playing, and if we had time, we would run down to the beach to wash our hands in the sea".
"As for drinking water, I used to bring it from home in a water container. Some students would go without water for the day if they do not bring it from home.
I am happy that we now have enough water for drinking and a hand washing place with taps where we can wash our hands anytime and have water to keep our school clean," Macklyn adds.
This project is providing access to regular safe drinking water and handwashing facilities for thousands of students in 500 schools across four PNG provinces - Madang, Morobe, Sandaun and Western - and in the National Capital District. It has also established 500 hygiene clubs, including one at Macklyn’s school, that are promoting healthy behaviors like regular handwashing with soap among the students.