Clean safe water will soon become a reality for the 15,000 people of Kape, Longo 1 and 2, and other Kambe Yakipu villages on the outskirts of Mendi, Southern Highlands.
A project involving the construction of a dam, a filtration system, an 80,000 litre Southern Cross tank and the installation of water pipes and taps is about to be implemented by the Baptist Union of PNG Health Services.
This will all be made possible thanks to K291,770 from PNG Sustainable Development Program Ltd and K300,000 from the Member for Imbonggu, Mr Francis Awesa (Minister for Works), and the expertise of the church.
The signing of the funding agreement took place on Monday, June 24 between PNGSDP and Baptist Union Health Services.
|Officials from Baptist Union PNG Health Services signing the funding agreement on Monday|
A community water and sanitation committee consisting of six men and four women will be set up to support the project team during the implementation phase. This is to ensure the communities are involved in decision-making and ownership from start to the finish.
“PNGSDP’s contribution to this project is backed up by trusted project implementers, financial support from the local Member of Parliament and the community’s contribution through sweat equity,” chief executive David Sode said.
"This sort of commitment, in PNGSDP's experience, makes all the difference to whether a project goes ahead or not, and whether it ultimately succeeds or not.
“Once completed, the project will provide clean water and improved health and hygiene for locals. It will also relieve women and children of the laborious task of walking long distances every to fetch water for their households.
“It will also make a big difference in terms of people’s health – water-borne diseases are a major problem in villages and as the population increases throughout the country, traditional water supplies are becoming inadequate and unsafe.
A safe and reliable water source has been identified in the hills behind the villages, away from human activity.
The system will be gravity fed and has the capacity to supply 200 litres of water per second from the dam to the reservoir tank, from where it is then piped to the villages and schools.
Water points will be erected at selected locations for people to access.
PNGSDP is a 63.4% shareholder in the Ok Tedi mine. The dividends from its shareholding are used to support development work across the nation, including community-based projects.