The launch event was jointly coordinated by UNICEF PNG and Colgate Palmolive and was witnessed by students, teachers and board members of the Sacred Heart Catholic Primary School where the event took place at Hohola, NCD.
Pravin More, WASH Specialist at UNICEF PNG said this is part of a 250,000 soap donation that Colgate Palmolive provided in support of the World Health Organization’s #SafeHands effort, for people in need in Papua New Guinea to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
“When the COVID-19 pandemic struck the world UNICEF was one of the leading organizations that played a key response globally and also in Papua New Guinea. Here, as part of the support that we got from the government of Japan, we had built group handwashing stations in 50 schools in Port Moresby,” More said.
UNICEF took that opportunity to partner with Colgate Palm Olive to secure 250,000 soap bars to distribute in Papua New Guinea, from the 25 million soap bars which was manufactured to be distributed globally to the #Safehands campaign.
More added that out of that donations 50,000 soaps have been distributed here in National Capital District in 50 schools where we built hand wash stations. The remaining 200,000 soaps shall be distributed in our European Union funded projects which is ongoing in Goroka, Central Bougainville, Nawaeb and Hagen Central.
UNICEF is facilitating the soap distribution in the country to children in 290 schools, 55 health centres and 800 communities in five districts, that is Nawaeb in Morobe, Goroka, Eastern Highlands Hagen Central, in Western Highlands, Central Region of Bougainville, and NCD.
Alma Rabi, a grade 8 teacher was the Mistress of Ceremony. She emphasized on the importance of WASH which was not realized until COVID-19 pandemic stroke.
Alma Rabi, a teacher at Sacred Heart Catholic Primary School said in the past authorities didn’t really bother about Water, Sanitation and Hygiene but when COVID-19 came people realized the importance of WASH, including schools throughout the country and perhaps in the world. Schools started to put up facilities for handwashing. Sponsors like JICA and UNICEF came forward to install water taps and hand washing basins.
Rabi emphasized on the importance of hygiene and sanitation a while thanking the front line workers during COVID-19 especially those who assisted in setting up WASH facilities.
The distribution of soap to selected schools has already commenced.