Water aid benefits villagers

The National, Friday July 8th, 2016

HARIWA Billy is the oldest living person in his community.
He is probably just over 100 years old as he was a young man during World War 2, according to his sons and other relatives.
He met the first missionaries that visited Hoiebia in Kwandi, just outside Tari, the township of Hela.
The province is rich in gas yet has troubles of its own, including ongoing tribal warfare. This at times causes a stop to everyday tasks including project implementation and movement of staff during distribution of NFI (jerry cans, water purification tablets) and WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) education and awareness in communities.
Hariwa helped set up the town including the first airstrip in Tari.
He walks by, white head and supporting himself with both hands on a green shoulder high walking stick and looks for a spot of sunlight to perch himself on the still wet grass.
A white string of sea shell beads and white bilum strung across his neck dangles as he finds his spot in the bright morning sunlight.
While he can still see like a hawk, hearing is a problem for Hariwa.
Assorted brightly cultured wrist bands show on both hands as he attempts a handshake, while supporting himself with his walking stick.
His eldest son Alex speaks loudly into his ear before he can hear and respond.
He understood that we were interested to hear about his early days and he happily recounts his tales, not the least tired that he probably has done this a thousand times to curious family members, passersby and visitors.
He gladly showed us his house right next to his youngest son Steven and caretaker. From the front of Hariwa’s home, his son points down the ravine and mountainous terrain to where they fetched water from the nearest river. It is not too healthy as there are villagers living upstream.
Steven says his father appreciates the 20 litre jerry can which keeps his water cool over a number of days. It saves Steven the effort to get water for his father on a daily basis.
World Vision PNG has so far distributed nearly 4000 jerry cans (20L) in Hela and Southern Highlands supported by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and World Vision Australia.
A further 3000 jerry cans were distributed in Madang and Morobe under its El Nino Preparedness, Response and Recovery Project funded by the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) and World Vision New Zealand.
El Nino information, education and communication cards and a 90-day supply of more than 25,000 water purification tablets and aqua tablets were distributed with the jerry cans.
World Vision PNG El Nino response manager Bonie Belonia said men, women including girls and boys were oriented of the basic sanitation and hygiene concepts. Particularly during the onset of drought, which included proper and effective hand washing, use of clean and covered water containers, safe drinking through boiling or purification, water conservation and proper waste management.
She said the WASH orientation activity is being done before the actual distribution of water containers and water purification tablets.
“It is during this activity that community members are oriented on how to properly use the aqua tabs.”
The response teams are also working closely with the National Agricultural Research Institute (NARI) to acquire drought and frost tolerant planting materials.
Based on the needs assessment conducted earlier, drought affected communities need sweet potato and cassava planting materials to restart production as both are considered food and cash crops.
A total of 165,330 cuttings of sweet potato and 11,192 cuttings of cassava are to be distributed across 34 communities in Madang, Morobe, Southern Highlands and Hela.
The training and distribution is expected to benefit at least 5211 households impacting a total population of 22,911.
Community preparations are underway to ensure that community members are organised and prepared for the distribution this month. World Vision PNG’s El Nino response projects aim to increase communities’ access to basic sanitation, access to safe water and for vulnerable women, men, girls and boys to be provided with life saving assistance in conflict and crisis situations.
Story & pictures courtesy of World Vision PNG