Army partners with JICA to provide clean water
Two-and-a-half year project completed in Papua New Guinea.
by Kiyoshi Higuchi –
I was dispatched to Papua New Guinea from Japan in June 2006 as a project coordinator for Rural Community Development Support Project in the Gulf Province, which is funded by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
The project target was to install water tanks, hand water pumps and a gravity pipe in ten villages in the Opao area which is a few hours trip by dinghy from Kerema town. We conducted training on leadership, hygiene and sanitation, including demonstration on the slab toilet construction and water maintenance. The main objective of this project was to build the capacity of the community for sustainable self-development.
This training proved to be effective and helped change the mindsets and behavior of the people. The training also helped them to get involved and take ownership of the assignment.
Recently in December, we were able to successfully complete our project where we installed 28 rain water tanks, 10 hand water pumps, one gravity pipe in the Lapari village and distributed 260 toilet materials and 800 treated mosquito nets. We also trained 14 village health volunteers and constructed two village health volunteer centers for childbirth.
Having spent two and a half years in PNG, I believe that this project will have a big impact on the community. They can now enjoy safe and clean drinking water, and mothers can deliver their babies in a safe and clean environment. The number of water-related diseases such as diarrhea and skin diseases is declining, proving a healthier place for the people in the Gulf province.