Maru calls for effective WASH policy implementation

The Minister for National Planning and Monitoring, Richard Maru, has challenged the United Nations Children’s Fund to effectively roll out the Water, Sanitation and Health (WaSH) Policy PNG through a European Union (EU) funded Grant.

He gave the challenged  the United Nations Children’s Fund PNG representative, Karen Allen, during the signing of a memorandum of agreement (MOA) between the EU and UNICEF for the roll out of the WaSH policy in selected rural areas.

While pledging his support to the roll out of the program, Minister Maru had a strong message to the development partners calling for proper planning before such projects are rolled out.

Minister Maru raised a concern that the project only targeted the schools and not the communities or villages that these school children live in, as well as the patients and mothers.

He said it was important to run parallel programs for both villages as well as the schools.

“We cannot intervene and only touch the lives of the school children who still have to go back to the villages and communities. It is expected that you will also run a program that will also improve water and sanitation in the communities that we’re targeting under this program,” Maru said.

 The Minister said he was passionate about the implementation of the WaSH Policy and will continuously monitor the UNICEF funded project.

UNICEF Representative to PNG, Karen Allen, said the WaSH policy was a rare agenda found in the world as it provided for a more holistic approach to clean water and proper sanitation.

“Many countries have standalone water and sanitation policies. Policies which cover hygiene or water and that are consequently limited. However Papua New Guinea has led the way in formulating a holistic policy on water, sanitation and hygiene,” she said.

The EU funded and UNICEF implemented project aims to reach 40, 000 school children in up to 200 schools in four districts, as well providing for  more than  30, 000 patients, mothers and new born babies in around 34 health centres.

EU Ambassador to PNG, Ionnis Giokarakis-Argyropoulus was present to sign the MOA and said they were keen to support PNG achieve its development aspirations.

Cedric Patjole