After reconnecting with her family in Manus, Lynne Shori established Friends of Rambutso in 2007 to help the people of Manus address critical development challenges.  Learn more about how you can support their campaign to raise funds for a sanitation pilot project, designed to deliver health, gender equity, social and environmental outcomes.

Sanitation and Hygiene in PNG 

‘Sea closet’ toilet, Rambutso, Manus Province. Photo: Lynne Shori

It’s estimated that 2.4 billion people lack access to toilets. Poor sanitation in turn leads to poor health, with links to increases in the prevalence of waterborne diseases, such as cholera. Despite significant international funding allotted to PNG for water, sanitation and hygiene combined – through the global WASH initiative – in percentage terms fewer people in PNG today have access to sanitation than 20 years ago.

What are Friends of Rambutso doing?

Friends of Rambutso is seeking to bring an increased quality of sanitation and hygiene to the communities they work with, specifically by training the local communities to build sustainable composting toilets. The project believes that a faster roll-out of sanitation is possible when local communities are engaged and trained to solve the problem themselves. Roughly half of PNG’s population is under 25, and the project aims to engage this largely underutilized workforce in combination with the knowledge of local elders, who will be trained in community hygiene and the technicalities of composting toilets.

Awareness sessions with Rambutso elders and leaders, August 2016 (Photograph: Lynne Shori)
Awareness sessions with Rambutso elders and leaders, August 2016 (Photograph: Lynne Shori)

In this way, elders will educate the often disengaged and disaffected young men in valuable modern and traditional skills that will also help to preserve and reinvigorate local knowledge and craft.

Carpentry workshop (Photograph: Lynne Shori)

Some of the key benefits include environmental preservation, as the compost waste can be used to enrich soil and grow planting barriers to prevent tidal erosion. Another benefit is that women and girls, who have been forced to be absent from education during menstruation, can access hygienic and private facilities.

Overall, the project goes beyond sanitation to improve health, service the community, develop youth skills, preserve culture, secure shorelines, and promote gender equity.

How can you help?

This project is supported by the Manly Rotary Club and District 9685, and is partnered with Australian NGO, Friends of Rambutso Inc. This NGO was founded 9 years ago by a mixed Australian-PNG woman, Lynne Shori. Friends of Rambutso brings local knowledge, well established local connections and valuable learnings from past projects including a recent train-the-trainer workshop for young men on how to make furniture without nails.

Help is still needed to raise additional funds so that composting units can be installed at both ends of the villages participating in the pilot project.

More information, including updates on the progress of the project, can be found on:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FriendsOfRambutso/

Rotary Manly: http://www.manlyrotary.org/

Alternatively, Lynne can be emailed on lynne.shori@optusnet.com.au

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About the Author

Lynne Shori - Founder, Friends of Rambutso - Lowy Institute

Lynne Shori

Founder, Friends of Rambutso

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Lynne was born on Rambutso Island (also known as Rambutyo Island), Papua New Guinea (PNG) to a local woman, and an Australian father, who she grew up with in PNG, Australia and Singapore. She has a corporate background, and started her career at the Reserve Banak ahead of roles with the ASX, CBA and Caltex. She reconnected with her family in PNG for the first time in 2007, and founded Friends of Rambutso. In 2009 she resigned from a role in Investor Relations to work full-time to advance Friends of Rambutso. After nine years working at a grass roots level in community development, she has a close understanding of the challenges, and cultural and social constraints at play in remote rural communities in PNG.