Major Area: Young Child Survival and Development
Sub area: Water, Sanitation and Hygiene
Over 140 million Indians lack access to an improved drinking water source while 67 per cent of Indians use no drinking water treatment practice (WHO-UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme, 2010). In addition, over 600 million people are open defecating in India and this, alongside poor levels of operation and maintenance of water sources, is leading to a high risk of water contamination. Orissa, located in the eastern coastal area of India, has a population of almost 40 million. It is among the poorest and least developed States in the country. Since 2007, UNICEF has worked to build State policy and to strengthen systems on water quality improvement in Orissa and has conducted a district-level water analysis in Koraput, one of the 30 Districts of the Orissa State. The project has made significant progress in policy, capacity development and strengthened water quality monitoring system through leveraging and building on government systems, structures and resources. Two key lessons were learnt with regard to moving forward UNICEF’s agenda for ‘upstream’ work and capacity building in the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) sector. First, there is an increasing need to strategically target areas within government systems that UNICEF’s support can tap into in order to maximize the impact in this area. Secondly work in system strengthening is a continuous process which simultaneously requires different approaches including learning platforms, training, hosting learning visits, and review processes. In 2011 UNICEF, together with the government, continues the work on water quality monitoring; development of guidelines on safety of water sources at village level; and encouraging open dialogue with communities on water quality challenges.
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