The National, Wednesday 25th July, 2012
NEW Ireland Governor-elect Sir Julius Chan has announced the province intends to implement an ambitious programme to become the first to provide water, sanitation and hygiene to all villages there.
Sir Julius said a New Ireland team was working with European Union rural water supply and sanitation programme manager Stuart Jordan. The New Ireland programme will be called Community -Led Total Water and Sanitation, Hygiene and Economic Development.The objective of the programme is to provide sustainable community water supplies, sanitation (toilets for all households) and hygiene behaviour change.
The programme has substantial health and economic benefits, with areas where it has been implemented seeing visits to aid posts and health centres for illnesses such as dysentery and diarrhoea dropping by up to
80%. Dysentery and diarrhoea are major killers in the country, particularly among children.
The programme has dramatic economic benefits. By reducing the time women have to spend getting water each day, often up to three or four hours, it allows them more time for gardening and other activities.
They can grow enough food not only to provide for their families but to
market as well. Household incomes have increased greatly in the areas the programme has been introduced.
The programme leads to higher school attendance rates for females since young girls are no longer needed for the time-consuming work of getting water each day.
The rural water supply sanitation programme model has been introduced in several local level governments and districts in the Highlands but never on a province-wide basis.
Sir Julius said the programme would form an integral part of the model village programme already being introduced in New Ireland. “We intend to make New Ireland the first province in PNG, probably in the entire South Pacific, with full sanitation and water supply in each village,” he said.
“We are working on providing power for every village. By doing this, we will have a healthier population with more energy and more time to devote to economic activities, leading to greater incomes, better living standards and increased school enrolments.“In other words, New Irelanders will be more healthy, more wealthy and more wise.
“We are now preparing a project proposal for submission to donors for consideration, the donors are receptive.”