The European Commission provided a €25 million grant from the 9th European Development Fund to finance a five year ‘Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Programme’. This programme was managed by Ecorys through two phases: Phase 1 (2006-08) and Phase 2 (2009-12). The Programme provided improved sustainable water supplies and sanitation facilities to rural communities (85% of the population) throughout PNG. Coverage at the start of the programme was less than 20%.
The focus of activities was an inclusive approach to service delivery to engender community ownership and responsibility for maintenance of Rural Water Supply and Sanitation (RWSS) schemes, as well as providing essential training in health/hygiene, gender awareness, people and technical skills to support their installation and maintenance. Implementation was facilitated by Non State Actors (NSA), mainly NGOs and Church Development Organisations, plus some community based organisations and private sector enterprises.
The Programme represented a SWAP (Sector Wide Approach) for the rural water supply sub-sector consistent with the National Health Sector Policies. The EU was the main multilateral investor in the rural sector in PNG, and the intervention was sector wide across the whole country, with a priority for areas of greatest need.
The project supported capacity building in all key stakeholders and engaged them in the development process to ensure both local ownership and sustainability. As a result of this project, there was a 66% decline in diarrheal diseases, a 75% decline in infectious skin diseases and a significant drop in maternal deaths.