Children and Water & Sanitation Week 2007
The Water and Sanitation (WATSAN) week, was first initiate in 1997 by Prime Minister’s approval, is celebrated annually during the period 4th week of April - 1st week of May. This annual event has been one of the main opportunities for the Government of Vietnam’s IEC activities on water and environmental sanitation. Each province conducts a range of activities including awareness raising in the central/local mass media and community events. As a part of WES programme’s annual workplan, UNICEF Vietnam supports this event annually in selected project areas.
In 2007, UNICEF provided technical and financial support to the central and local counterparts (VAPM, CERWASS, DPM Tra Vinh and PCERWASS Ninh Thuan) in two provinces Tra Vinh in the southern Mekong Delta and Ninh Thuan in the centre of Vietnam to organise the WATSAN week event. A “communication package” was prepared which includes three main components:
First, for the mass media, a radio program, four TV News programs (2-4 mins), and a documentary film (20mins). These radio and TV programmes were aired by Voice of Vietnam and Vietnam Television (VTV) during 26 April – 10 May 2007 and disseminated water & environmental sanitation related messages such as “WES in schools”, “hygiene behaviour change”, and “coping with water scarcity”.
Second, two drawing contests, organised for more than 1.5 thousands children of 7-14 years in the two provinces. Children attending the contest could select a theme such as: “water, sanitation and environmental protection”, “human and animals living in harmonised creature” etc to create their drawings. The drawing contest created an interesting and fun-filled atmosphere for the children. Many high quality paintings were selected for the prizes. “We need to organise more contests like this for children as these activities not only provides children a change to be creative but also a chance for them to play” said Mr. Tran Xuan Hoa, the vice president of the Ninh Thuan Provincial People’s Committee.
Finally, two events celebrating WATSAN week 2007 were organised in two primary schools of Tra Vinh and Ninh Thuan respectively in the second and fourth week of April 2007. The two events were attended by provincial leaders, representatives from line ministries, UNICEF, mass organisations, mass media, and more than one thousands children and teachers. The programme of the event included speeches delivered by central and local officials, and UNICEF staff, music performance by children, hand washing games etc. The importance of safe water, good hygiene and sanitation for child development was emphasised in all the speeches. Despite many efforts, challenges still remain for Tra Vinh and Ninh Thuan to achieve the goals indicated in second National Target Programme on Water and Sanitation 2006-2010: 85% rural population have access to safe water and 70% have access to hygienic sanitation facilities.
The WATSAN 2007 week was financially supported by the Japanese National Committee, and the German National Committee. It also received technical support from the Centre of Rural Water Supply and Environmental Sanitation (CERWASS) and the Vietnam Administration of Preventive Medicine (VAPM).