Water in Papua New Guinea
We can live up to three weeks without food but only 3 days without water. Water not only symbolises life, but literally keeps us alive, every moment of every day.
In Papua New Guinea, where more than 85% of people live in remote and rural areas, problems related to clean water are complex. People die every day because of waterborne disease like cholera, typhoid and simple diarrhoea.
How are we involved in bringing about change?
We work with local communities who’ve identified two major areas that need work in relation to water. One is obvious: access to taps, tanks and other infrastructure needs improving. The second is more subtle, but just as deadly. It involves the need to change behaviour around hygiene and sanitation – hand washing; cooking and washing with clean water; valuing and using toilets correctly. Until this behaviour changes, time and lives will be wasted because of water-related illness.
The United Church of Papua New Guinea run schools, health centres and churches right across PNG. With so many people in their care, the church is in a unique position not only to lead on the installation of taps, tanks and toilets but just as importantly, to help change attitudes toward water and sanitation.
“Our role is providing funding and supporting local people to work with their own government on the goals they want to achieve,” says project co-ordinator Jane Kennedy.
“Local PNG community workers know what needs to be done and where. They’ve worked out that local leaders consistently modelling exactly what needs to happen is the most powerful way to get people to take notice. When local leaders place value on having a toilet, shared between a few households, use clean water for cooking, consistently wash their hands before eating, teach others how to cook food safely – that’s when change happens.”
When you support Lent Event, you’re giving to smart projects that bring life in Papua New Guinea on so many levels. You provide water infrastructure AND long term education, maintained by local people who are equipped to teach people how to get the most out of their health and educate their children for a future free of deadly water-borne disease.
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