Inclusive WASH implementation enabling access for all

Eddie and Sophia give the thumbs up to the new rainwater harvesting systems and taps in Wewak District, Papua New Guinea

Thumbs up for accessible new water facilities in Wewak

Ten-year-old Eddie and his grandmother Sophia are different generations with the same challenge - both are unable to walk due to physical impairments.

In Wom Village where they live in Wewak District, Papua New Guinea (PNG), both depended on family for their water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) needs. But the village only had one water source – an unprotected hand-dug well some distance away, so despite the best efforts of caregivers, Eddie and Sophia would sometimes go extended periods without bathing.

But their situation is better now thanks to the installation of new rainwater harvesting systems and taps in the village by Water for Women partner, WaterAid, and the Wewak District WASH Coordination body.

Today, Eddie and Sophia have a tap five metres from their door, enabling them to access a safe water supply and bathe every day.

Sophia said: “We are happy and would like to say thank you for the funding given to construct our rain harvesting structure helping us improve access to safe water... every day.”

The rainwater harvesting system generates approximately 300,000 litres of water each month. The system also caters for a growing population, storing enough water to supply the village during periods of water scarcity, including fluctuating rainfall conditions due to climate change.

People a with disability who live in rural PNG can find accessing a safe water supply difficult, and often rely on caregivers to meet their basic daily WASH needs. 

Twenty-three rain harvesting systems have been installed across hamlets and tribes in the Wewak District, as part of a priority project within the district’s five-year WASH plan.

People with disabilities are among those most disadvantaged and hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has highlighted the critical role of access to safe water sources in enabling good hand hygiene and promoting public health, preventing the spread of disease and reducing the toll of pandemics.

Water for Women partners with WaterAid to deliver the Inclusive WASH for Wewak project, which aims to benefit more than 40,000 people in the Wewak District of East Sepik Province, Papua New Guinea, by December 2022.

Water for Women is the Australian government's flagship WASH program and is being delivered as part of Australia's aid program over five years, from 2018 to 2022. So far, 1.4 million people in Asian and Pacific communities  have benefited from greater access to WASH services, including 26,575 people with disabilities*. We aim to directly support a further 44,319 people with disabilities by the end of 2022. 

Through Water for Women, Australia is investing AUD118.9m to deliver 33 WASH projects and research initiatives that aim to support 2.9 million people in 15 countries across South Asia, South East Asia and the Pacific. 


*As of December 2022.

(photo: Nagasi Namui / WaterAid PNG) 


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