Consistency in having a clean environment is vital for a healthy population to prosper hence the Klinpela Komuniti Projek (KKP), a European Union-UNICEF-Government of PNG WASH project is promoting healthy environment and living a healthy life style in four districts of Papua New Guinea.
Components of the Klinpela Komuniti Projek like the Wash in Schools (WINS), Wash in Health Care Facilities and the Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) all play a vital role in promoting sustainable practices for people to follow in not only protecting the environment, but also for living a safe and healthy lifestyle.
Community Led Total Sanitation which mobilizes communities to work together to eliminate open defecation, includes addressing unhygienic local cultural norms and practices, and is helping to make interventions sustainable.
800 communities across four districts (Nawaeb, Goroka, Hagen Central and Central Region of Bougainville) are being supported to attain Open Defecation Free (ODF) status through this Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) approach.
World Vision’s WASH Project Manager Everlyn Mikasimo, as a KKP implementing partner in Nawaeb district, says the project helps ODF communities to build proper toilets with tippy taps and are provided with incentive tools to maintain ODF status and general cleanliness and beautification activities.
“To avoid polluting the environment, proper waste disposal systems are also set up including incinerators for menstrual waste management for schools participating in the KKP”, said Ms Mikasimo.
“Through the Klinpela Komuniti Projeck, the environment is not polluted and lives are being transformed through disease reduction”, she said.
She said the main challenge faced at hand is the in-consistency in maintaining the environment clean-up activities, however encouraged and called on the district health services to provide ongoing health promotions and strengthening of the government’s healthy island concept.
UNICEF’s WASH Officer Issabella Warre said sustainable WASH outcomes cannot be realized where there are poor environmental hygiene practices.
“Not considering the health and hygiene of the environment undermines effectiveness of WASH interventions, especially improper waste disposal into the environment, including open defecation which leads to contamination of water sources and the environment in general” Ms Warre said.
She added that through the KKP, having CLTS community motivators and health committees is a way forward to keeping the environment clean and as such helps in restoring contaminated ecosystems.
“As these community change-makers will provide home visits to ensure cleanliness is maintained and addressed at the community level through the intervention of WASH practices”, she stressed.
Furthermore, Banip Satibe a community leader in Kapmewang in the Nawaeb district in Morobe province said the project has opened their eyes to live a healthy lifestyle, and to protect their environment and surroundings unlike the past without the intervention of the project.
Sharing similar sentiments, Tinibe Primary School in Nawaeb district’s Headmaster Mr Sebastine Dubaba said following awareness through the Klinpela project, the school has in-cooperated WASH into their lesson plans so students learn the importance of healthy living but also how best to protect their environment through their lessons.
He added that, the project has also intervened to set up the school’s toilet facilities for students to use including incinerators for menstrual waste management.