On Thursday 22 August 2019 the European Union handed over Papua New Guinea’s first ever water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) mWater Management Information System (MIS) to the Government as part of ongoing efforts to support and enhance effective planning and coordination efforts in WASH sector.
The WASH MIS, an open source of mobile data collection and management platform will play a crucial role in collecting and populating reliable WASH data across communities, households, schools and health care facilities to support effective planning and development and monitor progress of the sector in the country.
“Water supply and sanitation services are basic social services. The sustainable management of water resource is an essential factor to boost PNG’s economic growth,“ EU Ambassador HE Ioannis Giogkarakis Argyropoulos said when handing over the MIS.
“This WASH MIS Data will also allow us to focus on eliminating gender inequalities to make water and sanitation systems truly gender-responsive by monitoring safe access to sanitary and hygiene facilities for women and girls. It will have a great impact on poverty eradication too,” emphasized Ambassador Ioannis Giogkarakis-Argyropoulos.
He added that “the European Union is committed to supporting PNG in implementing its National WASH Policy and its Vision 2050 to become a prosperous, healthy and wealthy society by year 2050”.
Papua New Guinea has one of the lowest rates of access to water and sanitation in the Pacific Region. According to the Government’s Joint Monitoring Report (JMP) 2017, only about 4 in 10 Papua New Guineans have access to basic water supply and 2 in 10 people to basic sanitation. Rural populations, where over 80% of the people live, face even much worse – only 3 people in 10 have access to water and 1 in 10 to basic sanitation.
The lack of a WASH national MIS previously meant the country lacked information on the status of WASH for most of the country which contributed to poor planning for WASH services over the years.
The EU-UNICEF-Government of PNG through their joint WASH project has originally been supporting mWater MIS to collect data in four project districts (Nawaeb, Hagen Central, Goroka and Central Region of Bougainville) In addition, the PNG WASH data portal is now collecting, storing, reporting on and monitoring WASH Service delivery in 12 districts across seven provinces. This number is expected to increase as more partners have been supporting WASH projects to adopt this MIS platform.
“The PNG WASH MIS is a timely initiative that is in line with government’s long term vision to develop a national WASH information management system which is key to the implementation of the National WASH Policy 2015-2030 that is intended to increase the number of Papua New Guineans with access to water, sanitation and proper hygiene,” said Dr. Kobby Bomareo, Vice Minister, from the Department of Planning and Monitoring.
“We are grateful to the European Union, UNICEF and partners for their support to the government in realizing this initiative,” he added.
“Poor sanitation, unsafe water and unhygienic practices are major causes of preventable illness and deaths especially in children. Access to safe water, improved sanitation and hygiene practices are essential for the survival and development of children and wellbeing of people in general,” David Mcloughlin, UNICEF Country Representative said.
Mcloughlin reaffirmed UNICEF’s commitment to working with the government, partners and the people to mobilize communities to promote behavioural change through community-driven actions and solutions.”
The European Union is one of the largest humanitarian donors of WASH assistance worldwide and has been supporting access to clean water and sanitation in PNG through successive Rural Water Supply and Sanitation projects since the 1990’s. These projects resulted in access to safe water for over 200,000 people especially in remote areas.
With the current project, 160,000 people, including 40,000 children from 200 schools, 36 health centers and 800 neighboring communities across all the four project districts in Papua New Guinea are expected to benefit from improved access to WASH services at the end of the EU-UNICEF-Government of PNG WASH project in 2021.
Feature Pic: EU Ambassador, HE Ioannis Giogkarakis Argyropoulos, hands over the WASH MIS to PNG Government.