On World Water Day, UNICEF calls for action by community
Khartoum, 22 March 2012 – Sudan marked the 2012 World Water Day (WWD), today, with a call for collective community action to tackle the issues of access to safe drinking water, improved sanitation and hygiene promotion.
The Water and Environmental Sanitation Department of the Public Water Corporation was joined by UNICEF and other partners at different WWD events across the country.
“Our health is in our hands and each member of the community must unite to overcome all challenges together,” said Ms. Anupama Rao Singh, UNICEF Sudan Country Representative a.i.
Ms. Rao Singh pointed out that by teaching families and friends to build and use latrines, keeping drinking water safe without contamination, using separate water cups and regular hand washing were simple actions that community member could take to ensure healthy lives.
Observed globally on 22 March each year, the WWD is intended to highlight the magnitude of water and sanitation challenges the world is facing, and to bring stakeholders together to apply solutions that work.
According to the latest Sudan Health Household Survey (SHHS 2010), six million people in Sudan still have no access to improved sources of drinking water while 23 million people do not have access to improved sanitation and 10 million people practice open defecation.
UNICEF is working with the government and other partners to support the sustained provision of safe water and adequate sanitation to fulfill its commitment to ensure children survive and stay healthy. Experts say that without a minimum of 20 litres of safe water per day – just two buckets – children have little chance of escaping poverty. Many children are out of school collecting water instead of learning in classrooms. Additionally, a high burden of diarrhoea in the first two years of life is associated with a much higher risk of stunting and growth shortfalls.
Elaborating on the need for collective community action, experts say that when water is not available on premises and has to be collected, women and girls are many times more likely to be the main water carriers for families. Studies show that poor farmers and wage earners are less productive due to illness caused by unsafe water, inadequate sanitation and lack of awareness about hygiene practices, and as a result national economies suffer. Without safe water and sanitation, sustainable development is impossible.
Sudan’s WWD celebrations were organized with the participation of children in different states with a focus on community action and the use of schools as an entry point to implement WASH interventions. Events and awareness building activities were organized at state and locality levels.
UNICEF is on the ground in over 190 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments. For more information about UNICEF’s work visit: www.unicef.org or www.unicef.org/sudan or www.unicef.org/sudan/Arabic
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For further information, please contact: Simon Ingram, UNICEF Chief of Communication, Sudan, +249 912 177 573, firstname.lastname@example.org