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Empowering Communities & Collaborating Locally to Improve Water, Sanitation, & Hygiene (WASH) Education & Infrastructure in Papua New Guinea

Working with local students & teachers to develop & provide sustainable solutions to challenges involving water, sanitation, & hygiene.

Photo of Water Hands Hope NGO
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Water Hands Hope is a charitable nonprofit organization based in Honolulu, Hawaiʻi.  Our mission is to create sustainable solutions to directly improve the lives of people living in the poorest and most remote regions of the world.  Formed in 2013, we have organized the delivery of international humanitarian aid to developing countries such as Papua New Guinea, Nepal, Ghana and Bhutan.  Currently our work is focused on the Highlands of Papua New Guinea, where we have participated in several humanitarian missions over the past few years.

An integral part of our work at Water Hands Hope involves effective communication with local leaders and partners in determining the specific needs of a community in relation to water and health care.  We then utilize our network of volunteers and partners to design and implement solutions to the problems we’ve identified.  Next, we monitor the implemented project to evaluate effectiveness and assess sustainability. 

The foundation of our organization’s approach is focused on three aspects that are essential to a person’s prosperity: water, health, and community.  

Water: Our goal in this area is to improve people’s access to clean water by assisting with WASH infrastructure, technologies, and education.  We demonstrate and provide water filters, help construct toilets and handwashing stations, and collaborate with local educators to develop WASH curriculum for schools.

Health: We partner with community health providers in developing countries to improve access to basic medical services.  Although Water Hands Hope is able to offer medical care directly to people in need, our main focus is to collaborate with community hospitals and clinics to conduct educational demonstrations, discussions, and seminars for local health care providers, and to assist in delivering medical tools and supplies.

Community: Promoting prosperity and cohesion amongst a community by educating people about WASH and other healthy practices.  We believe in empowering people to be agents of change within their own society.

Explain your idea

Our idea is to educate school teachers and students in rural areas of Papua New Guinea about the basics of water, sanitation, and hygiene, and to teach them how to use and demonstrate a water filtration system . In addition to encouraging these students and teachers to share this knowledge with other people in their community, we also are seeking local individuals to receive more in-depth WASH training and promote further education. Ultimately, this project will utilize sustainable methods to reduce barriers to safe water and improved sanitation, which will reduce disease burden and acts of violence, resulting in improved health, prosperity and peace, leading toward an improved community, environment and planet. Our idea works by using a streamlined approach that will disseminate a WASH curriculum throughout the region using a centralized training program. First, we will identify local champions and organizations. For example, the headmaster of Goroka Secondary School (Eastern Highlands Province) will help us identify motivated high school teachers and students who live in rural villages in different tribes throughout the region. Using positive reinforcement and a culturally-sensitive and competent curriculum, we will use a train-the-trainer program, which is a proven method for sustainable education. For this specific location, the Rotary Club of Goroka and Goroka Chapter of the Red Cross will partner with local businesses, hospitals and rural health centers to establish sustainable fundraising streams and supply chains to provide transportation, buckets, containers, water filters, soap, as well as the printing of the WASH education manual. Our idea primarily aims to reduce childhood death from diarrheal diseases and infections. Another aim is to reduce violence against women and tribal conflicts by improving access to safe water during drought season

Who Benefits?

Our beneficiaries are the people living in rural communities of Papua New Guinea, including some of the most vulnerable members, women and children. Our project aims to educate local teachers and students about the importance of clean water, proper sanitation, and good hygiene, and how to use the water filters to provide that safe water. After they learn and practice the lessons we teach in sourcing the materials, assembling the filters and filtering the water, they will have an opportunity to do a mock training to us. During the mock training they will demonstrate the lessons they learned and we will provide them feedback in how to improve their “pitch”. From there, we will travel to a new community with this trained cohort of trainers and give them an opportunity to give their training pitch live to the new school group to ensure a model of sustainability. Over time, the entire

How is your idea unique?

Our organization is unique in that we are building capacity for the community members to first understand the link between safe drinking water and public health and community wellness. Next, we will provide training in how to source materials for the water filtration. We will provide individualized feedback on the skills that they gain. We aim to build the understanding and capacity of the community to provide WASH education within their own communities. With our experience working in the rural communities of Papua New Guinea, we have built a network of partners in the schools, hospitals and rural health centers. We know the logistical constraints of working in the area and are uniquely suited to do this work, particularly because of the partnerships we have in place, the highly qualified professionals we have on staff and the experience we have doing work in this region for the past three years.

Idea Proposal Stage

  • Prototyping: I have done some small tests or experiments with prospective users to continue developing my idea.

Tell us more about you

We are a dedicated team of professionals who volunteer our time to offer expertise from a range of disciplines including medicine, energy sustainability, water, anthropology and education. We are passionate about helping people most in need. We are based in Honolulu, HI. We have worked with the Rotary Club of Goroka, the Red Cross Chapter of Mount Hagen, the Red Cross Chapter of Goroka, the Madan Coffee and Tea Plantation, Kundiawa General Hospital. We have a dedicated team of professionals with a diverse background in disciplines including medical doctors, nurses, solar engineers, water quality experts, anthropologists and educators. If selected for funding the exact team members will be identified based on funding amount. We will ensure that a project manager is identified, as well as a team lead for partnerships, materials, funding and logistics.

Expertise in sector

  • 3-5 years

Organization Filing Status

  • Yes, we are a registered non-profit.

1 comment

Join the conversation:

Photo of eldy wullur

Salute to you .. despite living in big cities in developed countries, but has a caring heart and mind
to poor living in remote areas.