Our partner: ATprojects

ATprojects help people construct toilets that are easy to construct and maintain, as well as educate people about sanitation. 
  • Founding date: 1998
  • Headquarters: Goroka
  • Mission: All ATprojects programmes will use appropriate technologies to assist poorer members of our community to improve their standard of living. We will use a participative design approach to develop suitable projects and products for distribution and dissemination throughout PNG and the South Pacific, where possible in partnership with other development programmes.
  • Website: atprojects-png.org

Appropriate Technology Projects, or ATprojects, is based in Goroka, in the Eastern Highlands. It works with communities and with the provincial government to help equip rural schools with ‘ATloos’ - simple Ventilated Improved Pit (VIP) toilets that are affordable, and easy to construct and maintain.

ATprojects provides a number of project development services and is one of the few organisations in PNG offering practical technical support at a district level. ATprojects increasingly sees its role as a supporting organisation, working with projects generated by local level government, church groups and rural communities.

Part of ATprojects' development strategy is to start with and build on locally available skills and materials, based on the initiative and full participation of local people. This should mean that local needs will be met more effectively, that mistakes will be on scale that are understandable and correctable, and that technological and social changes that follow are more likely to harmonise with evolving local traditions and culture.

Beginning in 1998, and with the continued support of Oxfam New Zealand and WaterAid Australia, ATprojects has so far managed to reach 140 rural, and at times extremely isolated, schools. That’s an estimated 56,000 children who are now enjoying the health benefits of improved water and sanitation.

The organisation aims to reach 216 schools. Schools range from between 200-500 students, and ATprojects accounts for one toilet for every 40 girls, and one every 60 boys. One of ATprojects' most popular resources is the ‘Worms and germs’ board game, a tool to show both the teachers and students the importance of clean water, hand-washing and personal hygiene.

In every school sanitation project, the school board, teaching staff, parents and students are all involved in the construction of the new loos and are expected to keep them clean. The school board also attends workshops on the maintenance of the hygiene infrastructure.

The critical component to any project's success is the education material rolled out with any new school toilets and water source.