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people in Papua New Guinea don't have access to safe water.

6 million people don't have access to adequate sanitation in Papua New Guinea.

Over 450 children die every year from diarrhoea caused by unsafe water and poor sanitation in Papua New Guinea.

Papua New Guinea in the Pacific region is one of the most culturally diverse countries on the planet, but it is also one of the poorest. More than half the population lacks access to a safe water source or basic toilet.

The crisis

Access to safe water and sanitation is a daily challenge for the poorest people in Papua New Guinea, many of whom live in remote, rural locations that are hard to reach with essential services. 4.5 million people – 60% of the population – don't have access to safe water.

There is low access to education in rural areas, and a widespread lack of understanding about the importance of toilets and basic hygiene practices to health. Over 6 million people don't have access to adequate sanitation, and as a result more than 450 children die every year from diarrhoea.

The annual monsoon season is often followed by periods of drought, so seasonal water shortages are common. The country also suffers from severe droughts caused by the El Niño effect, the last one being in 1998.

Our approach

In Papua New Guinea, WaterAid works with local partner organisations to provide essential water and sanitation services using simple, low-cost technologies.

We work with schools to ensure students and teachers have water points and basic toilets, allowing them to focus on their school work and keeping them healthy. We also promote the importance of handwashing and good menstrual hygiene.

We use films and radio programmes to spread awareness of the difference that safe water, sanitation and hygiene can make, and we campaign for the country's decision makers to prioritise these basic human rights.

Our impact

In Papua New Guinea last year we reached:

  • 4,000 people with safe water
  • 3,000 people with improved sanitation