CLEAN WA­TER WELLS IN WEST PA­PUA

Hills to Hawkesbury Living Magazine - - The West Papuan Development Company -

The ini­tia­tive to de­velop the WPDC wells pro­gram be­gan when one of our di­rec­tors (sent out from Unit­ing Church Pitt Town) was serv­ing as a vol­un­teer in Pa­pua. Shel­ley was ap­proached by a small group of Pa­puans, to help es­tab­lish an in­ter­na­tional part­ner­ship to im­prove ac­cess to safe, clean wa­ter. Thus we started to build wells. We have at this stage built 13 wells. The clean wa­ter needs of the peo­ple are enor­mous. Health, ed­u­ca­tion and gen­eral well-be­ing are all the positives of clean wa­ter. Their lives are changed overnight.

At the date of writ­ing the Pa­puan Team has 6 staff highly skilled in build­ing the wells with use of spe­cialised fi­bre­glass moulds. WPDC is still de­vel­op­ing and at this stage we aim to pro­vide funds to en­able one well ev­ery 8 weeks to be built by our Part­ner. The im­me­di­ate goal is to find a way so there is suf­fi­cient reg­u­lar in­come to build a well ev­ery month. WPDC has been work­ing to­wards in­creas­ing the num­ber of fi­bre­glass moulds of the Pa­puan Part­ner whilst a small team of amaz­ingly ded­i­cated supporters have been work­ing hard to fundraise for a sound sec­ond hand work ve­hi­cle for the Pa­puan team. With both of those fac­tors in place the Pa­puan Part­ner should then be in a po­si­tion to en­cour­age vil­lagers des­per­ately need­ing wells to lobby their lo­cal lev­els of govern­ment to sup­port the pro­gram through their so­cial wel­fare pro­grams. That con­tract work will not hap­pen overnight but it is pos­si­ble and WPDC is tak­ing the steps for­ward so the num­bers of wells be­ing built will in­crease ac­cord­ingly.

WPDC’s Pa­puan Part­ner is al­ready re­ceiv­ing re­quests from dif­fer­ent cor­ners of Pa­pua to ex­tend the Clean Wa­ter Pro­gram to in­clude their vil­lages. Due to the moun­tain­ous ter­rain there is lim­ited road in­fra­struc­ture be­tween re­gions in Pa­pua so trav­el­ling to re­mote re­gions of Pa­pua means ei­ther fly­ing or if they are coastal area, then tak­ing a pas­sen­ger ship around the coast and then usu­ally a num­ber of fur­ther steps with mo­tor boats / mo­tored ca­noes and other to get to the vil­lage con­cerned.

All of the projects in­volve a prior sur­vey of the vil­lage. The team check fea­si­bil­ity of the area cho­sen by lo­cals. They meet with vil­lage elders about what steps are in­volved and other as­pects or con­cerns they may have. The Part­ner then re­turns to base to or­gan­ise staff and equip­ment. As a re­sult it is al­ways a two-step process. Or­gan­is­ing of ma­te­ri­als can be quite chal­leng­ing in a re­mote area ,where for ex­am­ple ca­noes are used and these mat­ters need a lot of prior thought and plan­ning. When it comes to work­ing in a re­mote vil­lage in a new area, the Pa­puan Part­ner needs to nav­i­gate through all those is­sues which dif­fer of course in ev­ery lo­ca­tion. For all these rea­sons, car­ry­ing out projects in re­mote re­gions takes a lot more time, more funds for travel and the pro­vi­sion of meals and so forth. Yet it is in these re­mote ar­eas where the needs of peo­ple are great­est. WPDC is look­ing for ways to ex­tend the reach of our Clean Wa­ter Pro­gram into these out­ly­ing re­gions and step by step, slowly but surely we are find­ing those ways. The peo­ple of the Unit­ing Church “Hawkes­bury Zone” and the sup­port of so many Hills res­i­dents has been tire­less. Their hard work fundrais­ing and their gen­eros­ity is hum­bling. Thank you.

The work team with some of the vil­lagers

Kitchen at the or­phan­age

Or­phan­age Keerom

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