Empowering communities build, use toilets in rural Papua New Guinea

November 19 marks World Toilet Day. According to a recent evaluation by World Vision PNG’s Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Project, community WASH improved in three communities across Markham, Nawaeb, and Lae Districts in Morobe Province, Papua New Guinea, directly benefitting nearly 15,881 people, including 4,278 primary and secondary students (46% girls) and 241 people living with disability.


At least 95 % of households reported during the evaluation that they defecate in a toilet rather than the environment.


Since 2015, the proportion of community residents who cited hand-washing after going to the toilet and before eating tripled from 32% to 85%, showing improved community knowledge and behaviours while 98% of the population access safe water, transitioning from open sources (rivers, streams, and open wells) to protected water sources.


The use of the Healthy Island Concept (HIC), Participatory Hygiene and Sanitation Transformation (PHAST) and Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) helped created momentum towards community ownership of WASH infrastructures and hygiene awareness.


These approaches empowered and equipped community members with necessary information on identifying hygiene and sanitation problems, panning for new facilities and behavioural change and finally how to monitor and evaluate changes to improve the living standards of children and families in each of their respective villages and surrounding cluster communities. Community members were also learnt how to build Ventilated Improved Pit (VIP) toilets and construction of tippy taps.


The VIP latrines are designed to improve sanitation which eliminates flies and smell through air circulation which can greatly reduce faecal-borne diseases. It’s designed to be constructed even from locally available materials which ease on the cost of construction yet providing improved control for diseases. On the other hand is the “tippy tap”, a small but effective apparatus built from a container which is suspended on a rope which when pulled, pours water. Tippy taps are used mainly for hand washing after using the toilet, which decreases many diarrhoeal diseases.


World Vision also incorporates WASH into all its health and education programming in PNG, improving WASH in schools and health facilities in target communities.


The four year project funded by the Australian Government through the Australian NGO

Cooperation Program (ANCP):

·        facilitated and trained 50 community and 11 public sector leaders on HIC and CLTS, benefitting 1,760 community members;

·        installed new VIP toilets, hand-washing and drinking water taps in 11 schools, established water management committees in each school and trained 65 members in the maintenance of latrines and taps, including hygiene promotion.

·        partnered with five government health facilities in the construction of VIP toilets and rainwater-fed taps.

 World Vision is contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals aim to reach everyone with sanitation by 2030.