Revolutionary optimists bring their message to UNICEF
NEW YORK, United States of America, 3 April 2013 – Armed with loudspeakers and mapping devices, young activists who call themselves ‘the Daredevils’ have amplified the concerns of their communities in Kolkata’s slums loudly enough for the world to hear.
As more and more Malian refugees arrive in Mauritania, UNICEF steps up relief efforts
MBERA REFUGEE CAMP, Mauritania, 19 March 2013 – Nightfall in Mbéra refugee camp brings some relief for the refugees and humanitarian workers after a hard day in this hot, dry, remote region.
UNICEF staff member visits scenes of devastation in the aftermath of Typhoon Bopha
DAVAO ORIENTAL, Mindanao, Philippines, 12 December 2012 – It has been a week since Typhoon Bopha, ‘Pablo’, hit the southern Philippines. I was one of six UNICEF staff deployed as part of the government and United Nations assessment to the four most affected regions. Presently, about 2.3 million children are affected.
Hit hard by the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, Petit Goave recovers and rebuilds its water system
PETIT GOAVE, Haiti, 13 December 2012 – The massive earthquake that struck Haiti in 2010 destroyed the water system of Petit Goave, a coastal city near the quake’s epicentre.
In the Niger, a community-led sanitation programme transforms lives
MARADI, Niger, 13 December 2012 – A year ago, recalls Ashorou Miko, 31, “We were living surrounded by human excreta. The only way to relieve ourselves was by defecating in the bushes. The stench was unbearable.”
In the Philippines, UNICEF responds to families affected by Typhoon Bopha
PHILIPPINES, 7 December 2012 - UNICEF is providing assistance to families affected by Typhoon Bopha (local name ‘Pablo’), with a focus on ensuring clean water supply and providing temporary sanitation and non-food items for displaced families.
In the face of ongoing insecurity in Pakistan, a 13-year-old boy plays an active role in a camp for displaced persons
JALOZAI CAMP, Pakistan, 5 December 2012 – In his spare time, 13-year-old Irfan Ullah practises spin bowling, copying his favourite Pakistani cricketer, Shahid Afridi. Handy with a bat, Irfan hopes to represent Pakistan’s national team one day.
For villages in Turkana, Kenya, a new initiative that brings clean water to the community is life-changing
TURKANA, Kenya, 29 November 2012 - At Namukuse Village, in Turkana Central District, northwestern Kenya, sandy landscape leads to the shores of Lake Turkana. The lake is the fourth largest in Africa and a source of livelihood for the fishing community that lives along its shores.
Children are caught in the new wave of violence in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
New York, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, 19 November 2012 – They were too young to understand the violence that would kill them. Bearing the brunt of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict on their shrouds, four children from the Dalu family were buried amidst continued bombardment in Gaza City, occupied Palestinian territory. Their family home was turned into rubble by missile attack on Sunday.
Hit hard by massive flooding for the third successive year, people of Pakistan's Sindh province have no respite
JACOBABAD, Sindh, Pakistan, 13 November 2012 – As the only breadwinner of a family of 13, Sikandar Ali is deeply concerned about the health and nutrition of his wife, nine children and two sisters. Although the family had hardly recovered from hardships brought by floods in 2010, widespread monsoon flooding has, once again, deprived him of his livelihood.
In India, Formula 1 star and UNICEF Ambassador Fernando Alonso says hand-washing is a simple solution to saving millions of children's lives
NEW DELHI, India, 5 November 2012 – Formula 1 driver and UNICEF Ambassador Fernando Alonso visited the village of Tugarpur, Uttar Pradesh, to promote hand-washing with soap.
In occupied Palestinian territory, UNICEF and partners tackle the risks of open cesspools
Gaza, occupied Palestinian territory, 2 November 2012 - White birds fly low over the mirror-smooth pond before landing in the grass, where, much to the delight of 16-year-old Ahmed, some start singing.
In Lebanon, UNICEF and partners race to provide clean drinking water and prevent disease
BEKAA VALLEY, Lebanon, 23 October 2012 – The large chalkboard is a reminder that the crowded shelter housing Zaineb, her family and more than a hundred other Syrian refugees is actually a school.
At Za'atari refugee camp in Jordan, as a million litres of clean water arrive each day, focus turns to conservation and future supply of water
AMMAN, Jordan, 22 October 2012 – The Za’atari refugee camp in northern Jordan is a safe haven for almost 30,000 refugees who have fled conflict in the Syrian Arab Republic. Hundreds of people arrive daily.
In Pakistan, UNICEF and partners provide essential services in area devastated by monsoon floodwaters
JACOBABAD DISTRICT, Pakistan, 19 October 2012 - Reshma is a cheerful first-grader with hopes and aspirations for her future. She makes beautiful dolls in her spare time.
Haitian students spread the message of hand-washing, a critical measure in the fight against disease
FRECHOU, Haiti, 16 October 2012 – Derilus’s mother nearly died of cholera last year in this small mountain village just outside Port-au-Prince.
For children in Mali, hand-washing and safe water save lives
SIRAKORO, Mali, 15 October 2012 - It is a bright, hot day in the tiny village of Sirakoro in Mali’s central Mopti region. Children, their parents, school staff and community leaders have met up with a team of UNICEF Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) specialists, along with local partner NGO Association Recherche Action Femme et Développement (ARAFD).
In the Philippines, public elementary schools take the lead in promoting proper hygiene practices
GUIMARAS ISLAND, Philippines, 12 October 2012 – Schoolchildren in this small, hilly province in central Philippines may just have a new favourite ‘subject’ – hand-washing and tooth-brushing – which is now included in their daily curriculum.
In Jordan, huge water delivery and testing operation meets the life-saving water and sanitation needs of Syrian refugees
MAFRAQ, Jordan, 10 October 2012 - Massive water trucks trundle slowly through Za’atari refugee camp, filling the tanks that supply drinking taps and latrine and shower blocks.
In Jordan, Syrian refugee children continue education as first school opens at Za’atari refugee camp
MAFRAQ, Jordan, 8 October 2012 – “I’m very happy that school has started,” says Tabark, 12, who is in her fifth day of class at Za’atari refugee camp’s new emergency school. “I enjoy Arabic and writing the most. I would like to be an Arabic teacher.”
With cholera cases on the increase worldwide, UNICEF develops a 'Cholera Toolkit'
NEW YORK, United States of America, 24 August 2012 - Cholera is a significant public health priority currently making headlines, including The New York Times article of 22 August ‘Cholera Epidemic Envelops Coastal Slums in West Africa’.
Syrian refugees struggle to adapt to new surroundings in Za’atari camp
ZA'ATARI, Jordan, 17 August - The number of Syrian refugees crossing to Jordan is rising. To date, more than 7,000 people live in the tented Za’atari camp in Mafraq, north of Jordan. They are battered with frequent sand storms, hot weather and lack of natural shade.
As the food crisis in Mali worsens, UPS and UNICEF deliver humanitarian aid
BAMAKO, Mali, 21, August 2012 - On 16 August, a large M-11 jet airliner touched down at the Bamako-Sénou International Airport, as the United Parcel Service (UPS) made its first free-of-charge delivery to UNICEF Mali. As part of UPS’s efforts to help people in the Sahel affected by the food and nutrition crisis, 20 metric tons of supplies were delivered to Mali. The supplies are part of UNICEF’s emergency response to the food and nutrition crisis in the North of Mali, which has been complicated by a cholera outbreak and armed conflict.
Battling dust storms and the burning desert sun to meet the most basic need of the displaced - water
Za’atari, Jordan, August 17, 2012 - Eleven year old Abdullah stares silently at his dust covered toes under the scorching afternoon sun in Jordan’s Za’atari refugee camp.
Youth teach handwashing skills to keep their community healthy
N’tjibougou, Mali, 9 August 2012 -12-year-old Youssouf Dissa sits close to his grandfather Adama, speaking urgently and using his hands to emphasize what he’s saying. Youssouf has come from school with important information to pass on to his family.
Education of water rationing for Syrian refugees in Jordan
RAMTHA, Jordan, 5 August 2012 - As Syrians pour into Jordan, work is underway not only to provide essential safe water and sanitation, but to make sure the water lasts. Jordan is the fourth most water scarce country in the world and the influx of people is putting a strain on an already limited water supply.
Teaching the principles of good hygiene to school children
KATSINA STATE, Nigeria, 30 July 2012 – Nigeria has a vast coastline and river tributaries that irrigate the south, yet insufficient access to clean water contributes to millions of deaths every year. One in seven children will die in Nigeria before they reach the age of 5, many of them from waterborne illnesses.
Aid for children abducted and exploited by armed groups in the Central African Republic
OBO, Central African Republic, 25 July 2012 – “I was at home asleep with my mother, brothers and sisters. In the night some men came with weapons and torches. They took me and two other children away from my family and many others from our village,” said Sophie*, recalling her abduction and enslavement by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in the Central African Republic.
In Sierra Leone, school-led sanitation programmes improve health and save lives
MASAKA, Sierra Leone, 10 July 2012 – Memunatu Conteh, 14, lives in Masaka with her mother and four siblings. She has a busy daily routine, collecting water and sweeping her family’s compound in the morning, going to TDC Primary School Masaka to attend classes, then fetching water for the classrooms. After school, she plays football, then returns home to help her mother with the cooking.
In Yemen, UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake calls for efforts to improve child nutrition and well-being
SANA'A, Yemen, 10 July 2012 – “Wouldn't you instinctively want to invest in hope more than horror?” These were the words of UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake during his three-day visit to Yemen this week.
Children exercise their ingenuity and protect their health building sanitary hand washing stations
LOMÉ, Togo, 3 July 2012 - In Togo, under-5 child mortality rates are staggering; more than one in ten die before their fifth birthday. Many of these children could be saved if simple hygiene practices, like hand-washing with soap, were adopted.
Aid workers in Jordan race to meet the needs of Syrian refugee families
AL MAFRAQ, Jordan, 9 July 2012 – Funnels of dust race like miniature tornadoes at this former airfield near the town of Al Mafraq, in Jordan’s north.
In the Republic of the Congo, UNICEF and WHO launch initiatives to treat, combat and prevent cholera
ISLE M'BAMOU, Republic of Congo, 12 June 2012 – The diarrhoea and vomiting started at 3 a.m., and hours later, 12-year-old Steward Okoulokami was weak and losing weight. His panicked father, Dimitri, packed him into a dugout boat and brought him to Brazzaville.
Field Diary: Clean water improves health and education for children in Cerritos II, Honduras
LEPAERA, Honduras, 21 May 2012 – “Before, we had to go very early to collect spring water. We walked for a long time to the spring and home again. Then, there were times when we got sick,” said 12-year-old Selvin Hernandez. “But now everything has changed.”
Partnership helps restore public services in rural Sri Lanka
TRINCOMALEE, Sri Lanka, 15 May 2012 – It’s the morning rounds of the village mothers’ support group. Today, they’re visiting one of the poorest families in this remote village in eastern Sri Lanka.
Community-led sanitation saves lives in rural Chad
N’DJAMENA, Chad, 8 May 2012 – “It was a night in April,” explained Annour. “Our child began to vomit and have diarrhoea repeatedly. We gave him water, thinking that it would pass, but it went on. No one in the village health centre knew what it was, so we decided the next morning to take him to the hospital in N'Djamena – but he died on the way.”
Displaced families find shelter in north-western Pakistan
NOWSHERA, Pakistan, 2 May 2012 – Safe now at a camp for displaced people, Jan Bibi recalls the horrific events that led her family to flee for their lives earlier this year.
In post-flood Pakistan, 'Children's Fairs' entertain while promoting child rights and health
BADIN DISTRICT, Pakistan, 27 April 2012 – Thousands of flood-affected children and families have learned new life skills and enjoyed a much-needed reprieve from the stresses of post-flood life at a series of UNICEF-supported Children’s Fairs taking place in some of the worst flood-affected districts of Sindh province.
Manual drilling stations bring safe drinking water to Guinea's Boffa region
CONAKRY, Guinea, 27 April 2012 – The plains of Boffa are a sea of green – and yet there is no drinkable water here.
UNICEF Executive Director announces new global immunization strategy
NEW YORK, USA, 25 April 2012 – This week, UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake, alongside partners in the newly renamed Measles and Rubella Initiative, launched a new global strategy aimed at reducing measles deaths and congenital rubella syndrome to zero.
In DR Congo, a UNICEF programme is empowering communities to improve water and sanitation
KINSHASA, Democratic Republic of the Congo, 23 March 2012 – Years of civil war have limited progress in improving health and sanitation services throughout the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Today, half the population of 66 million still has no access to clean water sources, and one out of every five children under age 5 suffers from persistent diarrhoea.
In Niger, refugees from Mali are assisted with clean drinking water
MANGAIZÉ, Niger, 22 March 2012 – For the displaced families in the Mangaizé settlement site, located in a dry, empty stretch of the Sahel, access to clean drinking water is a matter of survival. Over 35,000 refugees and returnees have come to Niger seeking safety from the ongoing fighting in northern Mali.
Podcast #55: What does achieving the MDG target on water mean for schoolchildren?
NEW YORK, USA, 21 March – UNICEF and the World Health Organization recently announced that the world had met the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) target of halving the proportion of people without access to safe drinking water, well ahead of the 2015 deadline.
Focus on water, sanitation and hygiene improves child health and nutrition in Pakistan
MUZAFFARGARH DISTRICT, Punjab, Pakistan, 21 March 2012 – Inside a dusty farm house compound in rural Punjab, 7-year-old Ume Hani helps her aunt Ume Hassan, 16, prepare flat bread. Ume Hassan sits on the ground, dipping her hands in clean water as she kneads the dough.
Safe water remains scarce in Somalia, contributing to disease and malnutrition
MOGADISHU, Somalia, 21 March 2012 – A line of women and children curves around the wall of a defunct hospital, now home to an Outpatient Therapeutic Programme (OTP) in the Hodan District of Mogadishu.
UNICEF supports children and women displaced by insecurity in north-western Pakistan
JALOZAI CAMP, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province, Pakistan, 9 March 2012 – Ongoing insecurity in north-western Pakistan has caused thousands to flee their homes. Families are streaming into Jalozai Camp seeking shelter, support and food.
Millennium Development Goal target on drinking water met
NEW YORK, USA, 6 March 2012 – The world has met the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) target of halving the proportion of people without access to safe drinking water, well ahead of the MDG 2015 deadline.
UNICEF and partners support victims of inter-communal conflict in Jonglei, South Sudan
PIBOR, South Sudan, 1 March 2012 – It was an ecstatic scene as Nora Wacha, a 20-year-old woman who had been abducted during the recent fighting between the Murle and Lou Nuer tribes in South Sudan’s Jonglei State, was reunited with her family in Pibor.
In Haiti, a radio programme entertains while encouraging healthy behaviors
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, 17 February 2012 – People crowded into a Tap Tap, Haiti’s most popular form of public transportation, nod their heads and smile at the conversation pouring out of the speakers.
In Chad, clean and sustainable water and sanitation systems keep families safe from disease
N'DJAMENA, Chad, 17 February 2012 – While N'Djamena, the capital of Chad, bakes in the midday heat, Aisha Adoum uses the harsh sun to dry tomatoes, ochre and berries for the market. It is the dry season here, with dust coating everything. Children find relief playing in the low and polluted lakes and rivers, alongside carpet washers.
In Zimbabwe, improving water systems to safeguard children's health
SHURUGWI, Zimbabwe, 16 February 2012 – Emily Butau used to wake up every day dreading the task of collecting water for her family. After sending her three children off to school, she would embark on a long journey to find and then carry home water.
Improving water and sanitation in Haiti’s schools
PORT-AU –PRINCE, Haiti, 7 February 2012 – Eighteen-year-old Yves Nolly Lindor is teaching students at Pétion-ville National School about the importance of improved sanitation.
Alarming outbreak of cholera in the Central African Republic begins to subside
BANGUI and NDIMBA, Central African Republic, 3 February 2012 – Véronique Yassambatendji was awakened late one night in October when her husband began experiencing severe diarrhoea and vomiting. The 30-year-old mother of four brought him directly to the local health centre in Ndimba, where he was treated with oral rehydration salts.
Field diary: In Sudan, a long wait for the journey home to South Sudan
KOSTI, Sudan, 1 February 2012 – A raggedy doll is all that 18-year-old Sabina Saisa has left to remind her of her best friend, Jacqueline.
Piped water project offers health, opportunities to Angolan families
LUANDA, Angola, 25 January 2012 – When Beatriz da Encarnação got her own tap, the ready access to clean water quickly improved the health of her sons, 8-year-old Filipi Capitango and 8-month-old Beomiro Pedro.
A brighter future for Rwanda’s girls
KIGALI, Rwanda, 16 January 2012 – On the outskirts of Rwanda’s capital, a UNICEF-supported child-friendly school is helping to transform the way girls access education.
Life-saving action against cholera in DR Congo
MBANDAKA, Democratic Republic of the Congo, 16 January 2012 – “At the beginning I thought she had just diarrhea, but when she didn’t stop vomiting I took her to the hospital, where they told me it might be cholera,” said Getou Bofala, 35.
Northern Ghana remains vigilant against Guinea worm
DIARE, Ghana , 28 December 2011 – Azaratu Zakaria once limped unnoticed through the dusty lanes of her village. Now she is approached by strangers who call her an ambassador – something which she, as a woman with a disability in rural Ghana, never thought possible.
In Haiti, guarding families from cholera with local water treatment product
LEOGANE, Haiti, 22 December 2011 – “My children only drink treated water,” said Celie Bien Aime, in Leogane, Haiti. “When they go to their friends’ houses, they don’t drink the water there.”
UNICEF responds to extensive flood destruction in the Philippines
ILIGAN CITY, Philippines, 21 December 2011 – In a city devastated by floods and fatalities, the arrival of Christmas is the last thing on people’s minds.
As flood-affected return home in Pakistan, services are threatened by insufficient funding
SINDH PROVINCE, Pakistan, 20 December 2011 – Nawo squints in the early morning sunlight as her 3-year-old daughter, Sarita, walks barefoot through the dirt. Around them, the land is scarred and piled high with the ruins of their home.
Online training sessions help professionals improve water and sanitation in schools around the world
NEW YORK, USA, 20 December 2011 – A global certification course on water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) is being conducted for the third time, teaching development professionals around the world about effectively managing and implementing WASH programmes in schools.
UNICEF responds to Philippines communities devastated by Tropical Storm Washi
MANILA, Philippines, 19 December 2011 – Over 600 people have been killed, and hundreds more are missing, after flash floods devastated northern and western parts of Mindanao, an island in the southern Philippines.
Urgent need for aid continues in Pakistan in wake of devastating floods
NEW YORK, USA, 14 December: “All these houses have drowned. We are getting no help here,” said 9-year-old Saeen Bukhsh in September, after torrential monsoon rains and flooding destroyed his home in Farooqabad, Pakistan. “We don’t even have anything to put on the ground and sit.”
UNICEF and partners provide hygiene education and clean water in post-flood Pakistan
SINDH, Pakistan, 13 December 2011 – Tens of thousands of flood-affected children in Pakistan are being kept free of disease through the emergency provision of safe water, sanitation facilities and hygiene lessons. But a lack of funding is putting in doubt future humanitarian assistance.
UNICEF-supported sanitation and hygiene initiatives improving living conditions in Uganda
KYENJOJO, Uganda, 11 November, 2011 - Selegio Kamihanda used to worry a lot about his family getting sick from worms and diarrhoea, but all this is changing for the better, he says, as he waves to his grandchildren while standing in the morning light in his compound. Selegio, a father and grandfather, lives in the Kyangabukama village, a place set among densely planted banana trees and rolling hills in Kyenjojo District, western Uganda. The village is among 16 ‘model villages’ in the district that have implemented a community-led sanitation approach for improved hygiene and sanitary behaviours with UNICEF’s support.
Zimbabwe launches health transition fund to revitalize care for children and women
MARONDERA, Zimbabwe, 2 November 2011 — In a move to revitalise Zimbabwe’s ailing health system, the Government, in partnership with UNICEF and international donors, has launched the Health Transition Fund to reduce the country’s high maternal and child mortality rates.
Seasonal rains are a mixed blessing for parched north-eastern Kenya
NAIROBI, Kenya, 26 October 2011 – The rain has begun on schedule in north-eastern Kenya, bringing the first real precipitation that many people in the semi-arid region have seen for months, if not years. But while eagerly anticipated, it’s both a blessing and a curse.
Lao lathers up for Global Handwashing Day
VIENTIANE, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, 25 October 2011 – In a crowded courtyard, rows of children lather their hands, scrubbing in unison and reciting the steps to proper handwashing. The activity, punctuated by peals of laughter, is part of a day-long event celebrating the fourth annual Global Handwashing Day.
In Ethiopia, students learn environmental responsibility through active participation
DEBRE MARKOS, Ethiopia, 13 October 2011 – According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Ethiopia and most countries in Africa suffer from several forms of environmental degradation, leading to desertification and a detrimental impact on food and agricultural productivity and production.
UNICEF and ECHO aim to prevent waterborne disease in Togo, by promoting safe hygiene practices
LOMÉ, Togo, 10 October 2011 - In October 2010, Togo experienced heavy seasonal rains which caused flooding in most parts of the country. Affecting more than 82, 000 people, the southern region of Maritime was amongst the hardest hit, as floods severely damaged agricultural land and water systems in the areas surrounding the capital city of Lomé.
‘Water is our life’ – Pastoralists adapt to village life in drought-stricken north-eastern Kenya
DADAAB, Kenya, 3 October 2011 – “The last time I saw rain was five years ago,” says Fatima Suthi, a 50-year-old mother of eight living in Labisigale village, 15 km from Dadaab town in north-eastern Kenya. Host to over 400,000 refugees from Somalia in three camps, Dadaab is now considered the most populous refugee settlement in the world.
A displaced family sets up a makeshift 'home' in flood-affected southern Pakistan
BADIN DISTRICT, SINDH, Pakistan, 22 September 2011 – Lado Shero holds her 3-year-old granddaughter Shama tenderly to her body as she sits on the ground in a makeshift roadside shelter in the severely flood-affected Badin District, in southern Sindh Province.
Large scale effort underway to totally eradicate malaria in Mozambique
NHAMADZI, Mozambique, 28 September 2011 – Under the shade of a tree in deep rural Mozambique, nurse Sonia Tomocene is speaking to a small gathering about malaria prevention. Before her, pregnant women and young children sit on simple reed mats and listen to her advice attentively.
In Pakistan, new floods leave displaced families in limbo
BADIN DISTRICT, SINDH, Pakistan, 15 September 2011 – Mubarak, 37, and his son Rajab, 10, wade through the dirty flood waters up to their waist. They are attempting to rescue something from the murky depths, but from a distance it is not clear what it is. As they get closer and the water shallower, a heavy wooden chest comes into view.
Displaced youth in South Yemen cope with the effects of war
ADEN, Yemen, 15 September 2011 - It is the fourth day of Ramadan in Aden, a port city in the south of Yemen, and the temperature has reached over 40 degrees centigrade. Although it is summer holiday, the yard of Belqis School in Aden is full of children. Some play under the sun, while others attend educational sessions in a tent organized by UNICEF. The children are from families displaced by fighting in the restive region of Abyan between government troops and militants suspected of links to al-Qaeda.
In Pakistan, monsoon floods return to new areas causing widespread devastation
BADIN DISTRICT, SINDH PROVINCE, Pakistan, 14 September 2011 - Like déjà vu, exceptionally heavy monsoon rains that caused an unprecedented disaster in Pakistan during 2010 have returned with a vengeance to hit the southernmost part of the country.
With water scarce, innovative solutions in Kenya
WAJIR, Kenya, 12 September 2011 - At the side of the road in one of the most remote parts of Wajir in north east Kenya, a flurry of activity buzzed around a covered water tank.
Emergency aid arrives as UNICEF and partners work to restore Libya’s water system
TRIPOLI, Libya, 2 September 2011 – The fighting in Libya, particularly in the past weeks, has left the capital short of water and fuel. The disruption of the water supply to Tripoli through the country’s ‘Great Man-Made River’ pipeline system has left approximately 4 million people without potable tap water.
UNICEF acts to stave off potential water crisis caused by fuel shortages in Libya
BENGHAZI, Libya, 29 August 2011 – As sporadic fighting continues across Libya, the country is facing a potentially disastrous water shortage. The crisis results mainly from disruptions of the pipeline network that serves desert areas lacking local water sources.
In Djibouti, families fleeing conflict and drought continue to struggle in camp
DJIBOUTI CITY, Djibouti, 24 August 2011 – In what looks like a rubbish dump off of the main road southwest of the capital city Djibouti, a few hundred families have set-up makeshift tukuls and call them home. They have no water, no toilets, no electricity, and barely any hope.
Improving lives by providing access to safe water in Haiti
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, 23 August 2011 – For seven-year-old Babylove Milande Clement, every new day means tiring walks in the sun across her displacement camp outside of Port-au-Prince to buy safe water for her and her mother. Carefully balancing the water-filled bucket on her head so as not to spill a drop, she makes her way from a water kiosk to the tent where the two live alone.
UNICEF mounts urgent response to contain the spread of cholera in Somalia
NAIROBI, Kenya, 18 August 2011 - Foday Ali’s five-month-old baby is looking around, showing signs of life for the first time in four days since she was admitted to the Banadir Paediatric Unit in Mogadishu for severe malnutrition. She was born in an Internally Displaced Person (IDP) camp in Mogadishu just days after her mother completed the 25 kilometre walk from her home just north of El Ma’an.
In Kenya’s refugee camps, hygiene promotion aims to prevent disease by changing behaviour
DADAAB, Kenya, 18 August 2011- It is early morning amidst the shelters of Hagadera refugee camp in north-eastern Kenya, and Mohamed Shorie, 22, is already at work promoting the benefits of hygiene. Surrounded by three families from Block B 0C, in what seems just a matter of seconds, at least 20 more people arrive, most of them women and children, curious to hear what he has to say.
New pipeline brings hope to drought-affected communities in Kenya
TURKANA DISTRICT, Kenya, 16 August 2011 - In the middle of the dry river bed, children and adults alike worked to collect water from the dirty puddle at the bottom of the pit. Taking small, quick scoops in order to avoid the grit, the group patiently gathered just enough water for drinking. Without sediment, the water looked clean, but no amount of diligence could get rid of its saltiness or the fluoride contamination which makes this water barely potable.
After the storms, the rebuilding process continues in Lao PDR
BORIKHAMXAY PROVINCE, Lao PDR, 15 August 2011 – Seven-year-old May had been asleep for hours when the floodwaters came rushing through her village in the middle of the night.
Thousands of lives at risk in Chad due to cholera epidemic
N’DJAMENA, Chad, 11 August 2011 - Cholera has resurged in Chad affecting more than 7000 people since March 2011, most of whom are the poorest and most vulnerable.
UNICEF helps to rebuild a school in a flood-ravaged village in north-west Pakistan
NOWSHERA, Pakistan, 1 August 2011 – In July 2010, when floods reached the village of Kheshgi Bala, Maryam’s school – located right next door to the Kabul River – sat directly on the front line. Normally a sleeping giant, the river swelled with the intense monsoon rains and surged onto the land, filling the school with up to three metres of water and half a metre of mud.
Communities in Mozambique lead the way to safe sanitation
DEWE, Mozambique, 19 July 2011 – Village leader Chingore Manuel Mabeto, 65, remembers the frequency with which cholera outbreaks used to strike his community’s young and elderly residents.
Field diary: Mindanao families and children endure the reality of flooding in the Philippines
COTABATO CITY, Philippines, 15 July 2011 – A number of tropical storms have hit the Philippines recently, bringing floods, flash floods and landslides to many regions. During my mission, most of central Mindanao, in the southern part of the country, was submerged.
Kaski District in western Nepal marks a milestone in sanitation
POKHARA, Nepal, 14 July 2011 – On a warm day recently in Pokhara, the hub of Kaski District in western Nepal, people from different corners of the city congregated around City Hall to celebrate Kaski becoming the country’s first open-defecation-free district.
Fighting cholera, a deadly threat to child survival in DR Congo
KINSHASA, Democratic Republic of the Congo, 13 July 2011 – “I have never been as worried as during the past three days,” sighs Maman Vombi Sidania. After a night of continuous vomiting and diarrhoea, her granddaughter Mimi, 11, was taken to the health centre in Maluku. There, the girl was diagnosed with cholera – a potential death sentence from dehydration.
In Ethiopia, UNICEF helps meet water supply challenges in drought-hit Raya Azebo district
AZEBO, Ethiopia, 1 July 2011 – Tilalem Kiros, 13, a seventh grader in Raya Azebo district in the Tigray Region of northern Ethiopia, wants to be a doctor when she grows up. But she fears her daily struggle for water will ultimately prevent her.
UNICEF child-led WASH programme reaps rewards in India as hygiene-related illnesses fall
GUNA, India, 28 June 2011 – As they dash from class to the school’s canteen for their midday meal, Mahesh Kushawaha, 13, and fellow students stop and fumble in small plastic containers. But it’s not food they seek. It’s soap.
UNICEF mobilizes Haitian ‘Rara’ for cholera prevention
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, 27 June 2011 – Rara music groups from Voodoo religious communities empowered Haitians to protect themselves and their families in the ongoing fight against cholera at a recent campaign event.
UN Secretary-General launches global drive to meet sanitation targets by 2015
NEW YORK, USA, 21 June 2011 – Sanitation and access to proper toilets must be at the centre of discussions on development, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told a gathering this morning at UN Headquarters that included members of the Secretary-General’s Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation, and other dignitaries.
UNICEF provides thousands of people displaced by Sudanese fighting with life-saving services
KHARTOUM, Sudan, 15 June 2011 – Ten days after hostilities erupted in and around Kadugli, the morning routine for the small UNICEF team still in the town has begun to take on a familiar feel.
New water supply system transforms lives in Lao PDR
KEUNG VILLAGE, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, 9 June 2011 – It is 4 a.m. and Sinsai, 12, is beginning his day. He starts by collecting water and then helps his mother wash the dishes and clean the house.
UNICEF water and sanitation programme helps save children’s lives in conflict-affected Darfur
NORTH DARFUR, Sudan, 2 June 2011 – Amira says she is 15 years old, but she looks much older. In the last five months, her family has had to move three times because of on-going instability in North Darfur. Her mistrustful eyes hint at the hardships she has faced in her short life.
Goodwill Ambassador Xuan Bac delivers good hygiene message to children in Viet Nam
HA NOI, Viet Nam, 26 May 2011 – For many Vietnamese children, Xuan Bac, an actor and comedian, is a familiar name associated with friendliness and slapstick comedy. Recently appointed a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador for Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), the well-known celebrity is committed to making the position part of his family and professional life.
UNICEF provides shelter and sanitation to families and children displaced by conflict in Libya
BENGHAZI, Libya, 25 May 2011 – Young boys are playing football in the yard and a group of girls are skipping to ring-a-roses in the far corner while their parents look on. A fourteen-year-old boy in a wheelchair is sitting in the shade talking to a group of friends.
UNICEF and European Union respond as climate change alters lives in Kenya and Ethiopia
NEW YORK, USA, 24 May 2011 – Climate change seems to be blighting large parts of Africa. The effects are more pronounced than in the industrialized world, and people in developing nations are less able to deal with them.
Finnish funding enables UNICEF to provide safe water to school children in Afghanistan
MAZAR, Afghanistan, 23 May 2011 – The first thing that catches your eye, as you enter Abdul Khaleq School, is the sun glinting off the galvanized metal of the new water pump and sink and the sparkling of water droplets as children drink, and wash their hands and faces.
Belgian Minister President's visit highlights 'Healthy Villages, Healthy Schools' in DR Congo
KINSHASA, Democratic Republic of the Congo, 12 May 2011 – “Your school has become a model of a modern school, which will hopefully set an example for other students and schools in Congo,” declared Rudy Demotte, Minister President of the Walloon Government and the French Community in Belgium, speaking to residents of Mbimi village on the outskirts of DR Congo’s capital, Kinshasa.
UNICEF provides vital assistance to thousands of displaced people in Côte d’Ivoire
DUÉKOUÉ, Côte d’Ivoire, 9 May 2011 – More than half a million people were forced to flee their homes during post-election violence in Côte d’Ivoire, which began late last year. Houses burned to the ground and villages were destroyed.
In Viet Nam, a 'total sanitation' programme makes progress in rural areas
VINH THANH, Viet Nam, 5 May 2011 – Vinh Thanh village is nestled in the rice-producing Mekong Delta region of southern Viet Nam. Residents came together one sunny morning recently to attend a very special performance organized by local health workers.
Field diary: UNICEF helps provide water to Somalia's drought-hit regions
GALKAYO, Somalia, 20 April 2011 – We set out on a Saturday and headed east from our base in Galkayo toward Hobyo, a coastal town and a haven for some of Somalia’s pirates. After only a few kilometres’ drive we were in a dusty semi-desert, amid scorching earth. The first settlement we came upon was the little village of Bitale, a strategic watering point for livestock. Though the settlement is impoverished it boasts a towering telecommunication mast: a sign of Somalia’s technology boom.
Changing policy to implement critical change in Mauritania
NOUAKCHOTT, Mauritania, 15 April 2011 - Hadjia, 15, grew up in Bakaw, a remote Mauritanian village in the Brakna region where childhood poverty was the norm and the lack of access to proper sanitation led to bouts with disease, pain and acute diarrhea.
Student-run WASH club promotes proper sanitation and hygiene practices in Ethiopia
SOMALI REGION, Ethiopia, 14 April 2011 - At ten minutes to break time, Kadr Hassen, 15, and other members of the Harmukayle Haji Mumin School’s water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) club here in Harmukayle, Shinile Zone, make their way to the compound where the cooks are preparing the mid-morning school meal.
Improving basic health services and sanitation to help save lives in Togo
SIRKA, Togo, 11 April 2011 – With all the curiosity of a little boy, Abdoulwassai, 3, eagerly follows the daily activities at the construction site where his father works. Just across the road stands a brown and yellow building, the primary health-care centre in the village.
UNICEF and the AusAID support improved sanitation for Palestinian students
HEBRON, Occupied Palestinian Territory, 11 April 2011 – For the first time ever, students at the Al Shioukh elementary school for girls in the West Bank city of Hebron have access to their own sanitation facilities.
Deputy Executive Director calls for step up of emergency response for Ivorian refugees
GRAND GEDEH, Liberia, 4 April 2011- More than 100,000 Ivorians have fled to Liberia since last November’s disputed presidential election. About two-thirds are children, who are now in desperate need of food, clean drinking water, shelter, sanitation facilities and medical care.
At the Tunisia-Libya border, relief for families heading home
RAS JDIR, Tunisia, 4 April 2011 – At first glance, Laika’s smile and those of her six children are eye-catching as they enter a tent in the Ataawan transit camp on the Tunisia-Libya border.
Challenges in reaching children and families as fighting flares across Côte d’Ivoire
NEW YORK, USA/DAKAR, Senegal, 1 April 2011 – UNICEF staff in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire have been trapped in their offices for a second day, as forces loyal to President-elect Alassane Ouattara made an assault on the country’s commercial capital, Abidjan, in a bid to oust outgoing President Laurent Gbagbo and put an end to a political stalemate that has now lasted for four months and one day.
UNICEF sets up sanitation facilities at transit camps on the Tunisia-Libya border
RAS JDIR, Tunisia, 30 March 2011 – With no end in sight to the crisis in Libya, the daily influx of people into southern Tunisia continues as people flee over the border by car, bus and even on foot.
UNICEF reaches out to families and children in earthquake-hit Japan
TOKYO, Japan, 24 March 2011 – The devastating earthquake and tsunami that hit north-eastern Japan has left thousands of children without homes and in desperate need of essential supplies, medical and psychosocial support.
DHAKA, Bangladesh, 21 March 2011 – Before a small crowd, Dolly Ahkter, 22, unravels a large piece of brown paper covered in check marks and crosses, and begins to explain what the markings mean.
UNICEF and partners educate Haitian children on how to prevent cholera
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, 18 March 2011 – In the crowded classrooms of Institute Mixte de Kervens School in Canape Verde, Port-au-Prince, children are learning critical skills in the fight against cholera.
Eco latrines improve quality of life in earthquake-affected communities in Rwanda
GIHUNDWE, Rwanda, 15 March 2011 – A mini-revolution has taken place for vulnerable members of a small community living near Lake Kivu in the Rusizi District of south-west Rwanda, an area struck by a series of earthquakes in 2008.
In Niger, new sanitation programme is transforming lives through better hygiene
BANDE, Niger, February 16 2011—Rabe Amman, 24, leads his visitors through the spotless courtyard of his family compound and past his wife who is pounding millet with her neighbours outside their thatched huts in the remote Nigerien village of Bande. He stops by a reed enclosure, which he opens to proudly show off his latest accomplishment - a new covered latrine for his family, which he built with his own hands.
Lake Chad's receding water level heightens risks of malnutrition and disease
BOL, Chad, 9 February 2011 – Yakowra Malloum commands respect as she enters the Sultan’s compound in the centre of Bol. Covered in a bright coloured scarf, with an intricate floral henna design running down her arms, she looks like many of the other women who have gathered in the later hours of a hot sunny afternoon. But this trained pharmacist, who has spent the last 20 years working with the Ministry of Health, is different.
Promoting local solutions for national health in Rwanda
KIGALI, Rwanda, 4 February 2011 - On an overcast Kigali morning, amongst an impressive collection of hundreds of ceramic pots, an excited crowd has gathered to celebrate the launch of the Kigali Potters Cooperative; a ‘safe water’ pilot community project, whose aim is to transform the health of the community, as well as stimulate economic growth by training local potters in the production of ceramic water filters.
In Haiti, UNICEF trains educators to mobilize communities against cholera
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti 9 December 2010 - Chydena Laguerre Joseph holds up a brightly colored cholera prevention poster in Wharf Jérémie, one of Port-au-Prince’s most overcrowded and poorest neighbourhoods. Gathered around her, a group of children wearing ragged clothes and shining smiles begins to sing a song she just taught them:
UNICEF Haiti stresses cholera prevention in overcrowded districts of Port-au-Prince
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, 19 November 2010—Fabiula Deballe, 27, looks exhausted as she stands in front of a tented cholera treatment centre at the Gheskio clinic in Port-au-Prince, the Haitian capital. For three days, she has been sitting by her son’s bed who is recovering from cholera.
UN appeals for funding as cholera outbreak worsens in Haiti
GONAÏVES, Haiti, 12 November 2010 – The death toll in Haiti's cholera epidemic has now climbed to some 800, with more cases reported in the capital, Port-au-Prince, and other areas outside the Artibonite Region where the outbreak originated. In response to the worsening situation, the United Nations has issued a new appeal for $163 million in donor aid.
In Gonaïves, cholera cases increase in aftermath of Hurricane Tomas
GONAÏVES, Haiti, 10 November 2010 – After several 14-hour days battling a cholera epidemic in the coastal town of Gonaïves, the last thing Dr. Dieula Louissaint needed was a hurricane.
A Haitian mother struggles to provide her family with safe water
L’ESTERE, Haiti, 9 November 2010 – It is late morning in L’Estere, a small community in Haiti’s Artibonite region, north of the nation’s capital of Port-au-Prince. Igenice Merceda has arrived at the community hospital. She’s happy because today she will be taking home her son Godson Noel. Only yesterday, Igenice wasn’t sure if her son’s three siblings would ever see him alive again.
Amidst ongoing cholera crisis, UNICEF and partners respond to hurricane threat in Haiti
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, 5 November 2010 – After the devastating earthquake that struck Haiti in January, coupled with a cholera epidemic over the past two weeks, Hurricane Tomas now poses yet another threat to the most vulnerable part of the country’s population – its children.
UNHCR airlifts tents as UNICEF focuses on safe water for flood victims in Benin
COTONOU, Benin, 28 October 2010 – In one of the first large-scale responses to a crisis that seemingly hasn't yet registered with much of the world, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees has airlifted thousands of tents for people displaced by the devastating floods in Benin.
UNICEF prepares for a potential cholera outbreak in Port-au-Prince
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, 27 October 2010 – While efforts to contain the cholera epidemic are ongoing in the affected zones of the Artibonite region, UNICEF and its partners have been gearing up for a potential outbreak in Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince.
Emergency aid and long-term solutions meet cholera outbreak in northern Cameroon
MOKOLO, Cameroon, 27 October 2010 – At the temporary cholera treatment centre in Mokolo village, northern Cameroon – a series of specially built tents accommodating cholera patients – Aminatou, 14, lies listlessly on a bed, weak from days of severe diarrhea. An intravenous drip is in her arm to stave off extreme dehydration.
UNICEF and partners work to contain the cholera outbreak in Haiti
ARTIBONITE, Haiti, 26 October 2010 – The worst is not yet over for Haiti. Ten months after a powerful earthquake devastated the country, a cholera epidemic has spread fear and misery. The outbreak is the country’s biggest medical crisis in recent years. At L‘Estere Medical Centre here in the country’s Artibonite Department, north of Port-au-Prince, the flow of new patients doesn’t seem to stop.
Safe water saves lives in Angola
KAMIKOTO, Angola, 15 October 2010 – Deep in the heart of Angola, a boy runs, jumps and splashes with friends in a river. Women wash their clothes under the cool shade of a large tree. A canoe passes by, its owner looking for fish.
A community-led approach to sanitation and hygiene saves lives in Mali
BAMAKO, Mali, 11 October 2010 – Defecating in the open is still a common practice throughout rural regions of Mali, and in many villages, latrines are constructed only for the elderly or disabled.
Water and sanitation are most urgent needs as Pakistan's flood crisis persists
THATTA, Pakistan, 11 October 2010 – There’s a cruel irony that hangs over Pakistan’s vast, tented camps in the wake of the country’s devastating floods. While water is what damaged or destroyed nearly two million homes and affected the lives of more than 20 million people just weeks ago, today water exactly is what those people need most.
In Pakistan, UNICEF and partners promote hygiene in schools amidst conflict and floods
SWAT DISTRICT, Pakistan, 4 October 2010 – Water levels along the Swat River have returned to normal, but evidence of the devastation from recent floods is everywhere. Bridges, roads, schools, health facilities, water supply and sanitation systems in Swat Valley – which were already suffering from the effects of military conflict over the last two years – are severely affected.
Fighting Guinea Worm, a waterborne blight in Mali
GAO, Mali, 4 October 2010 – Guinea Worm, a painful parasitic disease, is endemic in northern Mali. Transmitted through contaminated water sources, the illness is just one of many challenges in ensuring safe water, sanitation and hygiene in the country.
Community-led water and sanitation projects take root in Nigeria
CALABAR, Nigeria, 23 September 2010 – Esther Etowa’s lively face is quick to break into an engaging smile. Her deep voice can change from a comforting murmur into a boom that can be heard across the width and breadth of a village – a useful quality in Ms. Etowa’s work.
In Kenya, women take the lead in water provision and management
LOLPULELEI, Kenya, 21 September, 2010 – Zebras and elephants roam among the cattle and goats. Lolpulelei is 200 km from the nearest tar road and the preoccupations of the pastoralists who live here are a million miles from the busy minds of politicians in faraway Nairobi. Yet teacher Mary Kaoni’s day is every bit as hectic as theirs.
Partners in Côte d’Ivoire work to reach thousands with safe water
BOUAKÉ, Côte d’Ivoire, 20 September 2010 – At a checkpoint on the road leading to Niéméné, Côte d’Ivoire, stand three armed men in uniform. It has been eight years since Côte d’Ivoire was split in two, with Bouaké as the command centre of the rebel-held north, and life here is slowly returning to normal.
Raising clean hands in Afghanistan's 'WASH' friendly schools
KABUL, Afghanistan, 16 September 2010 – Designed to increase investment in water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) for Afghan schools, a new Call to Action has been jointly issued by the government’s Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development (MRRD), the Ministry of Education (MoE), the Ministry of Public Health, the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF. Its intent is to engage policy makers at all levels, involve multiple stakeholders and monitor WASH in schools.
UNICEF and partners fight deadly, but preventable, cholera outbreak in Cameroon
NEW YORK, USA, 8 September 2010 – Cameroon is currently experiencing one of its most severe outbreaks of cholera in decades. The epidemic began in May 2010, following the country’s rainy season, and is most prevalent in the country’s Extreme North province. To date, there are some 5,560 reported cases of cholera and 385 deaths, according to the Government of Cameroon.
Ghanaian children benefit from UNICEF 'IWASH' project
TAMALE, Ghana, 8 September 2010 – They say it takes a village to raise a child. But children themselves are equally capable of important work, as UNICEF Ghana’s new handwashing project, known as ‘IWASH,’ is proving.
Improved sanitation catches on in rural Ghana one latrine at a time
TAMALE, Ghana, 26 August 2010 – Peering through the doorway of the Chief’s hut in the village of Chirifoyili, into a courtyard littered with earthenware and ceramic cooking pots, it seems nothing has changed in this village for centuries.
UNICEF Regional Director for South Asia visits relief camps in Pakistan
SUKKUR, Pakistan, 20 August 2010 – The extent of the misery and devastation caused by Pakistan’s recent flooding is unprecedented, said UNICEF Regional Director for South Asia Daniel Toole after visiting the area this week. The country is facing its worst disaster in more than 30 years.
In rural India, improved sanitation and iron supplements help girls stay in school
LALGANJ, India, 13 August 2010 – Rina, 16, has copper-painted toenails and a matching floral ‘kurta,’ or blouse. A pendant of the local tribal goddess Sarna hangs from her neck.
UNICEF programme in Afghanistan will provide thousands of schools with safe water
MAZAR, Afghanistan, 3 August 2010 – “My parents have told me that it is important to wash my hands when I come from the toilet, but at home I first have to look for water,” said Sami, 8, a resident of the northern Afghan city of Mazar. “Every morning and evening, my two elder sisters and I go to the tap stand in front of our house to fetch water.”
In Somalia, a Public-Private partnership provides safe water to thousands
BOROMA, Somalia, 29 July 2010 – Residents of Boroma town in north-west Somalia don’t take access to safe water for granted.
Panama launches national handwashing campaign to improve child health and hygiene
PANAMA CITY, Panama, 14 July 2010 – “Wash our hands, it´s time to wash our hands,” sang a group of second graders at Los Andes II school in Panama City’s San Miguelito district. While they chanted the popular tune, hundreds more children waved handmade banners for health officials who were present at their school to inaugurate a national handwashing campaign.
Field diary: In Somalia's Boroma district, Child Health Days campaign is making strides
BOROMA DISTRICT, Somalia, 17 June 2010 – I arrive in Hayaayabo village early in the morning. This is one of the sites where the Child Health Days Campaign, supported by UNICEF and the World Health Organization, is being implemented.
In Mozambique, an innovative programme overhauls sanitation practices
CHIBWE, Mozambique, 24 May 2010 – A circle of women dance to the beat of drums in the morning sun, a crowd of adults and children watching from under tall, leafy trees. After a lengthy roll of beats, the dancing stops and the circle opens to welcome visitors – a group of water and sanitation experts.
Visiting Somalia, UNICEF Regional Director notes progress made on safe water
BOSSASO, Somalia, 13 May 2010 – Bossaso, a busy port town on the northern coast of Somalia, is an economic hub in the semi-autonomous Puntland region. Tens of thousands of Somalia’s estimated 1.5 million internally displaced people live here, shielded from the intense heat only by cardboard and bits of rags.
UNICEF hosts first annual High-Level Meeting of 'Sanitation and Water for All'
WASHINGTON DC, USA, 11 May 2010 – UNICEF recently hosted the historic first annual High-Level Meeting of the Sanitation and Water for All campaign at World Bank headquarters in Washington, DC.
'Call to Action for WASH in Schools' promotes water, sanitation and hygiene education
NEW YORK, USA, 1 April 2010 – Every child has the right to water, sanitation and hygiene education and facilities. In many countries, consistently providing this is a major challenge for policy makers, schools and communities.
Syrian students spread the word about safe water
DAMASCUS, Syrian Arab Republic, 29 March 2010 – The message of World Water Day, celebrated here and around the globe last week, is more pressing than ever in the northern regions of the Syrian Arab Republic, which have received exceptionally low levels of rainfall in recent years.
Simple techniques help ensure safe water for families in eastern Cameroon
BERTOUA, Cameroon, 25 March 2010 – Mbelé Jeannette, 38, a mother of nine children – including a three-month-old – has recently learned a simple technique to provide safe water for her family at home in Mbidja village, eastern Cameroon. And she has noticed a big difference in their health.
Global event brings the urgent need for safe water into focus
NEW YORK, USA, 22 March 2010 – Three quarters of the planet is covered by water, yet only about one per cent is available for human agricultural, manufacturing, community and personal use. This year’s World Water Day theme – ‘Clean Water for a Healthy World’ – aims to raise awareness and spur action on improving water quality worldwide.
New safe-water systems in rural Niger enable children to go to school
CHINWAGHARI VILLAGE, Niger, 22 March 2010 – Surrounded by a throng of other children, each carrying empty containers, 8-year-old Fatima Hamouma walked to the new, modern water taps in her village. In just a few minutes, she had filled all six of her containers. Just a year ago, fetching water from the old traditional well would have required at least three hours of hard work.
Promoting hygiene and water treatment to prevent deadly diseases in Guinea
KAMBAYA VILLAGE, Guinea, 19 March 2010 – In the small village of Kambaya, the residents take water from unsafe sources that are contaminated with bacteria. Doing so leads to the spread of waterborne diseases such as cholera.
Children spearhead safe-water practices in India
JHARKHAND, India, 19 March 2010 – Soon after their classes are over, a dozen students from Pathargora Upper Primary School in Jharkhand are busy packing up their portable water testing kit.
Water and sanitation upgrades improve life for Somali children and women
DHEENTA VILLAGE, Somalia, 06 January 2010 - The people of Dheenta village didn’t have safe water until two months ago. But now, thanks to the UNICEF-supported new water system, about 300 families are benefiting from a regular supply of clean and safe water.
Health, education and sanitation improve post-tsunami
BANDA ACEH, Indonesia, December 2009 – The distinctive voices of Misrina and Bunga can be heard singing above the din of other young children at the Psyandu Plus Centre. Now approaching their fifth birthdays, both were born within a few weeks of the tsunami. Misrina was delivered by a Russian doctor in a hospital tent.
Sanitation in homes and schools upgraded in tsunami-affected Sri Lanka
KARAKITIVU, Sri Lanka, 22 December 2009 – Jayawathi’s husband had just returned from his overnight fishing trip, and she was watching him prepare the catch in the front yard of their home in Karaitivu, on Sri Lanka’s east coast. Transferring the overflowing buckets of small silvery fish to a larger tub for salting, it looked like a good catch, but earning enough money from fishing is difficult here.
Creating a ‘sanitation revolution’ in South Africa
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, 18 December 2009 – South Africa held its second 'Africa Water Week' in November to boost the continent’s response to safe water and access to sanitation. Organised by the African Ministers’ Council on Water (AMCOW) with support from UN agencies and partners, Africa Water Week is a direct response to the 'Sharm El Sheikh' Commitments on water and sanitation that were made by the African Union Heads of state and Government in 2008.
Hygiene education for a village in Mali
FADIEDA, Mali, 8 December 2009 – The village of Fadieda is at the forefront of a new pilot programme in Africa. It’s one of 15 villages selected by UNICEF and the Ministry of Environment and Sanitation to change the way it approaches sanitation.
UNICEF and the Embassy of Denmark launch refurbished water plant in drought affected central Syria
SALAMIEH, Syria, 2 December 2009 – Syria is experiencing a severe drought that is jeopardizing the livelihoods of thousands of families. After a second straight year of poor rainfall, this country in the heart of the fertile crescent is, in places, becoming barren.
Readying young minds to fight cholera through better hygiene in Zambia
LUSAKA, Zambia, 5 November 2009 – The rainy season has returned in Zambia, bringing with it the threat of cholera, a preventable waterborne disease that sickens thousands here every year.
UNICEF teams up with traditional folk groups to teach good hygiene in Myanmar
YANGON, Myanmar 27 October 2009 – For centuries, Myanmar’s hugely popular traditional folk performance or ‘Zat’ groups have travelled the country, entertaining audiences with comedy, song and dance.
Celebrating handwashing with soap in Zimbabwe
HARARE, Zimbabwe, 21 October, 2009 – Approximately one million Zimbabweans lathered up their hands with soap and water last week as they joined in on the worldwide commemorations of Global Handwashing Day.
Students take the stage on Global Handwashing Day in Papua New Guinea
WESTERN HIGHLANDS PROVINCE, Papua New Guinea, 20 October 2009 – In celebration of Global Handwashing Day, students in four provinces across Papua New Guinea took to the stage to raise their voices and educate their peers.
Bringing proper sanitation to rural Afghanistan
KABUL, Afghanistan, 16 October 2009 – The second Global Handwashing Day was celebrated yesterday in Kabul and 34 provinces of Afghanistan, shining a spotlight on the importance of handwashing with soap and water as one of the most effective and affordable interventions to save lives.
Two women receive ‘Golden Poo’ Award for outstanding work as hygiene champions
NEW YORK, USA, 16 October 2009 – The ‘Golden Poo Awards’ were held yesterday in London as part of Global Handwashing Day celebrations. The award honoured the work of two women: Head of the Environmental Sanitation and Hygiene section of the Tanzanian Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, Mary Swai, and WASH Specialist from UNICEF Tanzania’s Young Child Survival and Development Section, Rebecca Budimu.
Promoting handwashing in schools to prevent disease in Cameroon
DOUALA, Cameroon, 15 October 2009 – The Ministry of Basic Education and soap producer Complexe Chimique Camerounais (CCC) have partnered with UNICEF to provide hygiene supplies to 300 schools across the country.
Japan promotes Global Handwashing Day for better hygiene
TOKYO, Japan, 15 October 2009 – Today, millions of children and adults in over 80 countries are marking the second annual Global Handwashing Day with special events and activities. As part of this effort, the Japan Committee for UNICEF and its partners have launched a project to promote handwashing among children in Japan and around the world.
UNICEF delivers life-saving hygiene kits in West Sumatra earthquake zone
TANJUNGSARI, Indonesia, 9 October, 2009 – Children and families in Tanjungsari, a hamlet located in the Agam District of Indonesia’s West Sumatra province, recently endured three successive – and massive – natural disasters.
Global Handwashing Day 2009: Spread the word, not the germs
NEW YORK, USA, 9 October 2009 – Next Thursday, 15 October, marks the second annual Global Handwashing Day, which millions of children and adults will celebrate with special activities in over 80 countries.
De-worming and handwashing promotion drive targets 4 million Angolan schoolchildren
LUANDA, Angola, 6 October 2009 – Angola has launched an integrated school health campaign that is expected to reach 4 million children.
World Water Week convenes in Stockholm
NEW YORK, USA, 17 August 2009 – Global leaders and policy makers are gathering in Stockholm, Sweden this week to discuss water-related challenges.
Battling water-borne diseases in cyclone-affected West Bengal
SUNDERBANS, India, 7 August 2009 – When Cyclone Alia hit the Bay of Bengal at midnight on 26 May, more than 80 per cent of the fragile homes in the area were totally destroyed. The storm broke through the century-old embankments flooding rice paddies, devastating crops and forcing families to seek shelter at higher ground.
Rebuilt water and sanitation systems help heal scars of conflict in Georgia
GORI, Georgia, 3 August 2009 – Tortiza Village School near Gori still bears the scars of the 2008 conflict in and around South Ossetia, Georgia. One of the main school buildings is blackened by fire and stands in ruins.
Angolan children to benefit from joint programme for safe water
LUANDA, Angola 29 July 2009 – On 24 July, the Government of Angola launched a multi-year Joint UN Programme on Water and Sanitation in Luanda, along with UNICEF, the UN Development Programme, the International Organization of Migration and the International Labour Organization.
Lack of safe water a struggle for families of Kosovo
OBRI, 13 July 2009 – Every day, Shukrije Xhemajli, wonders if the water her children drink will make them sick. It’s a fear that never leaves her.
UN Public Service Award honours water supply initiative in Gujarat, India
GUJARAT, India, 13 May 2009 – The air was charged with excitement in the office of the Water and Sanitation Management Organization (WASMO) after the recent announcement that it had won the prestigious UN Public Service Award for ‘fostering participation in policy-making decisions through innovative mechanisms.’
UNICEF ‘builds back better’ to improve water supply in China quake zone
CAOCHUAN, China, 20 April 2009 – It was a chilly morning in early March, and Gou Xiumian, carrying a plastic bucket, walked to the water point in her courtyard and turned the tap.
International photo contest highlights effects of climate change and encroaching deserts
NEW YORK, USA, 9 April 2009 – The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCDD) has issued a call for photographers to participate in the Second UNCCD International Photo Contest – part of a global effort to raise awareness about the issues of land degradation and desertification in drylands, and their social consequences.
Children create giant mural to mark World Water Day in Laos
VIENTIANE, Laos, 25 March 2009 – As part of international celebrations for World Water Day 2009, Laotian school children joined forces to create a huge mural.
Safe water improves quality of life for families in Berbera, Somalia
BERBERA, Somalia, 23 March 2009 – Until recently, the coastal town of Berbera, north-west Somalia, suffered from insufficient and poor quality of water delivered through its rundown water-supply system.
World Water Day and the need for global action on safe water and sanitation
NEW YORK, 19 March 2009 – As World Water Day 2009 approaches on 22 March, UNICEF-supported water, sanitation and hygiene projects are working to improve child health and survival in more than 90 developing countries.
Improving access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene for children in Afghanistan
KANDAHAR, Afghanistan, 12 March 2009 – Water is the most basic element necessary to sustain life, but less than quarter of all Afghans currently have ready access to it. Less than a third of the population is able to use adequate sanitation facilities, and even fewer have access to improved drinking-water sources.
Empowering communities to improve sanitation in Sierra Leone
FREETOWN, Sierra Leone, 25 February 2009 – Until recently, Kadiatu’s children had regularly suffered from diarrhoea and other diseases related to poor hygiene and inadequate sanitation facilities. Such bouts with illness led to missed school days and constant visits to the local hospital, which added additional strains to an already overstretched household.
Schoolchildren adopt improved sanitation and hygiene practices in Burkina Faso
WEOTENGA, Burkina Faso, 22 January 2009 – For the students at the Weotenga Primary School in central Burkina Faso, handwashing with soap is anything but a chore. In fact, it’s the latest craze, thanks to efforts by UNICEF to elevate the importance of personal hygiene in the region.
Helping an overwhelmed clinic respond to cholera in Chirundu, Zimbabwe
CHIRUNDU, Zimbabwe, 9 January 2009 – Cholera victims were in agony on the damp grass outside an overfilled clinic in Chinrundu, a small community in the Northwest region of Zimbabwe. The rural clinic, which only has the capacity to treat eight patients, has been overwhelmed by the cholera emergency; its staff has already witnessed 185 cases and 16 deaths.
Widespread collapse of social services creates 'twin disaster' in Zimbabwe
HARARE, Zimbabwe, 5 December 2008 – After a widespread breakdown in social services, the Government of Zimbabwe declared a national cholera crisis on Wednesday. The country’s health sector has collapsed and hospitals are closing, creating a ‘twin national disaster’.
Improving community sanitation in Uchi, Nigeria
UCHI, Nigeria, 12 November 2008 – UNICEF Representative in Nigeria Dr. Suomi Sakai and other UNICEF staff recently visited Uchi Community Primary School, located in Benue State, and toured the school’s improved water and sanitation facilites.
Goodwill Ambassador Joel Madden visits water projects in Central African Republic
BANGUI, Central African Republic, 10 November 2008 – UNICEF USA Goodwill Ambassador Joel Madden has seen firsthand the deadly threat unsafe drinking water poses for thousands of children living in the Central African Republic (CAR).
Guineans mobilize for water, sanitation, hygiene and handwashing
CONAKRY, Guinea, 30 October 2008 – Global Handwashing Day was celebrated on 28 October in Guinea with handwashing ceremonies in schools across the country.
Villagers build latrines for better hygiene and child survival in Sierra Leone
FREETOWN, Sierra Leone, 28 October 2008 – Mahmud Konneh recently finished building a latrine in his village, Tilorma, in the Kenema District of eastern Sierra Leone. It is one of the 30 new latrines that have been constructed by Tilorma villagers under the Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) approach.
Global Handwashing Day messages spread across Nepal
KATHMANDU, Nepal, 22 October 2008 – Nepal celebrated the first-ever Global Handwashing Day, 15 October, with various activities and demonstrations designed to convey one key message: that the simple act of handwashing can prevent many deadly diseases.
Global Handwashing Day celebrated in 700 schools across Angola
LUANDA, Angola, 17 October 2008 – On the first-ever Global Handwashing Day, 15 October, students and teachers from more than 700 participating schools across Angola engaged in symbolic acts of handwashing and listened to government leaders speak out about the importance of using water and soap.
A million Ethiopian children lather up with soap on Global Handwashing Day
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, 16 October 2008 – Addis Ababa’s Maskal Square came alive in the spirit of handwashing yesterday as 1 million Ethiopian children united to wash their hands with soap and water in celebration of the first-ever Global Handwashing Day.
Star cricketer Sachin Tendulkar promotes handwashing in India
CHAANDIGARH, India, 16 October 2008 – Indian cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar and his teammates joined an estimated 100 million school children around the country yesterday in lathering up for better health and hygiene as part of the first Global Handwashing Day.
Global Handwashing Day: Children lead the way in Afghanistan, Somalia and Mozambique
NEW YORK, USA, 15 October 2008 – Millions of children in 70 countries around the world are marking the first-ever Global Handwashing Day with a simple act that will protect them from disease and save their lives.
From Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, millions celebrate first Global Handwashing Day
NEW YORK, USA, 14 October 2008 – Tomorrow, millions of people around the world will wash their hands with soap at special events marking the inaugural Global Handwashing Day, 15 October.
Puppets and peers teach Indonesian children the importance of handwashing
KLATEN, Indonesia, 10 October 2008 – Students at a small rural elementary school here are learning a lesson that could save their lives. It’s a simple habit that many people around the world take for granted: being able to wash their hands with soap.
The Wiggles donate a song to UNICEF for first Global Handwashing Day
NEW YORK, USA, 9 October 2008 – The popular Australian children’s musical entertainers, The Wiggles, have produced and donated song to UNICEF to mark the first-ever Global Handwashing Day, to be observed on 15 October.
Making children's voices heard at the 2009 Children's Climate Forum in Copenhagen
COPENHAGEN, Denmark, 8 October 2008 – The voices of children from all over the world convened to make themselves heard in the international climate debate earlier this week, as UNICEF Denmark and the municipality of Copenhagen hosted a preview of next year’s ‘Children’s Climate Forum Copenhagen 2009’ (CCFC 09). The event, held at a public school in Copenhagen, offered an advance look at CCFC09 to the Danish and international media.
Prevention and hygiene-awareness efforts aim to stave off cholera in Guinea-Bissau
BISSAU, Guinea-Bissau, 6 October 2008 – Jose Turé is a metal worker here in one of the poorest countries in the world, and his life has been marked by hardship. He left his family behind in the town of Bafata when he moved to Bissau, the capital, in hopes of earning a better living. But the move to the bigger town brought with it a new danger: cholera.
Villagers tap the rain to improve health and hygiene near quake-affected Yogyakarta
TLOGAWATU, Indonesia, 18 August 2008 – On the eastern slopes of Mount Merapi, a sacred, active volcano on the island of Java, change is about to come with the next rainfall.
Campaign aims to promote hand-washing and save young lives in Malawi
LILONGWE, Malawi, 15 August 2008 – A new campaign to promote hand-washing with soap is under way in Malawi. Using a cheerful animated character, called ‘SOPO’, the campaign has caught the imagination of children across the country.
New borehole well provides safe water to Aceh schoolchildren and villagers
ACEH BESAR, Indonesia, 23 July 2008 – The scorching sun overhead does not deter cheerful students at SDN 1 Lampaseh elementary school from washing their hands at the public water taps nearby. These schoolchildren are the first in a generation to benefit from a supply of fresh, safe water from a borehole well in Kampung Baroeh village.
Somali villages invest in solar-powered pump, with high returns
HARAF VILLAGE, Somaliland, Somalia, 22 July 2008 – Water has long been a scarce resource in Somaliland, where a two- to five-hour daily walk to fetch household water is not uncommon. Collecting water has traditionally been the task of women and girls, who are therefore unable to attend school regularly.
As UNICEF and WHO issue global update, water and sanitation still in short supply in Niger
NIAMEY, Niger, 17 July 2008 – Water is essential for drinking, cooking and hygiene, but collecting it is an arduous and time-consuming daily chore for women such as Kouloua in rural Niger.
Through a UNICEF-supported project, Aceh villagers finally get safe water
MERIE SATU, Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam, 4 June 2008 – For decades past, the residents of Merie Satu village could only dream of one day having access to safe water. There was no water source in their community, located in the rural, conflict-affected district of Bener Meriah in the heart of Aceh.
Promoting sustainable sanitation as a development cornerstone
NEW YORK, USA, 8 May 2008 – Water and sanitation experts joined financing professionals at UNICEF House in New York yesterday to identify sustainable methods of providing clean water and safe sanitation to those who lack these basic rights.
Child Health and Sanitation Week in Pakistan promotes hygiene to save young lives
TAKHTBAI, Pakistan, 5 May 2008 – In the remote town of Takhtbai in the North West Frontier Province, people took to the streets recently in a march to raise awareness during Pakistan's biannual Child Health and Sanitation Week.
UNICEF highlights water and sanitation at G8 Development Ministers’ Meeting in Tokyo
TOKYO, Japan, 11 April 2008 – UNICEF had an unprecedented opportunity to address the G8 Development Ministers’ Meeting on Millennium Development Goals and human security issues, which concluded earlier this week in Tokyo.
UNICEF responds to critical needs with water tankers in Basra crisis
AMMAN, Jordan, 31 March 2008 – For children in an Iraqi city paralyzed by violence, the arrival of a UNICEF water tanker in their street was an unexpected miracle. Thirsty families queued for up to two hours to fill whatever containers they could. For some, it was the first fresh water they had seen in days.
Lao PDR declares 2008 the National Year of Sanitation
VIENTIANE, Lao PDR, 28 March 2008 – Lao PDR declared 2008 to be the National Year of Sanitation, illustrating the government’s commitment to UNICEF’s global campaign on water and sanitation. A recent ceremony attracted more than 1,000 people, including government ministers, schoolchildren and representatives from over 120 villages throughout the country.
Sanitation project in Upper Egypt empowers children to protect their environment
SOHAG, Upper Egypt, 27 March 2008 – Admired by her peers at the Tawayel El-Sharqiyya School, Fatima, 10, is a natural leader. When Fatima speaks out about the urgent need to begin protecting the environment, the other students listen. She hopes they will also follow her example.
Celebrating the Tap Project to provide safe water for the world’s children
NEW YORK, USA, 20 March 2008 – As a glittery New York City event last night celebrated the success and the future of the Tap Project, rain poured down outside. The weather was just one reminder of the importance of bringing safe water to children around the world – the ultimate goal of this initiative.
Iraq’s water and sanitation crisis adds to dangers faced by children and families
BAGHDAD, Iraq, 19 March 2008 – Iraq has a large water and sanitation network, but it is in a critical state of disrepair. System failures are a daily fact of life.
Children are the best teachers in Zambia’s drive for better hygiene
CHOMA DISTRICT, Zambia, 19 March 2008 – Miyoba Milton is a big man with a big job – Headmaster at the Government Basic School in Choma. He is responsible for approximately 600 pupils and just over a dozen teachers. His authority is tempered with humility and enthusiasm.
Community outreach on hygiene for cyclone-affected families in Bangladesh
GABTALI, Bangladesh, 19 March 2008 – Pushi is very clean, washing her hands with water and soap whenever she uses the latrine and rinsing out the latrine pan when she is finished. Bulu, on the other hand, never washes his hands. After going to the latrine, he wipes them on his trousers.
Successful US Tap Project goes nationwide for World Water Week
NEW YORK, USA, 18 March 2008 — Last year’s successful New York City restaurant campaign to provide safe drinking water to the world’s children has gone national.
UNICEF promotes safe sanitation for World Water Day 2008
NEW YORK, USA, 19 March 2008 – On World Water Day tomorrow, as on every other day, some 2.5 billion people will be ‘doing their business’ somewhere other than in a toilet or latrine. That is not a statistic many people want to examine too closely, but it is crucial data for efforts to reduce child mortality.
Children and women lead the way to ‘total sanitation’ in Pakistan earthquake zone
PAKISTAN-ADMINISTERED KASHMIR, 29 February 2008 – Said Alam remembers the day when his granddaughter came back from school with a smile and a request that was about to change the whole family’s mindset and habits.
Water and sanitation fit for the children of Equatorial Guinea
BANEY, Equatorial Guinea, 29 February 2008 – The sight of children fetching water at the nearest river with buckets on their heads is a common scene in Baney, a small town situated in the outskirts of Malabo, the capital of Equatorial Guinea.
Key delegates gather in Tokyo as part of the International Year of Water and Sanitation
TOKYO, Japan, 26 February 2008 – As the International Year of Sanitation continues, Japan took the lead in efforts to scale up humanitarian interventions when key delegates met for a sanitation symposium held at United Nations University in Tokyo last Friday.
Bringing good hygiene to rural Bangladesh through ‘Para Centres’
BARAICHARI, Bangladesh, 22 January 2008 – In a classroom made of tin in the Baraichari Village preschool, five-year-old Umenu Marma and her friend clap each other’s hands and sing along to the beat. However, this typical children’s game has a twist – these girls are singing a rhyme their teacher taught them about good hygiene, which translates as, “If you don’t brush your teeth regularly they will hurt, but if you brush regularly, you can eat anything.”
East Asian leaders commit to improving toilets and hygiene
BEPPU CITY, Japan, 3 December 2007 – More than 170 delegates from 14 East Asian nations gathered last weekend in Beppu City, on the southern Japanese island of Kyushu, for the first East Asia Ministerial Conference on Sanitation and Hygiene.
International Year of Sanitation 2008: A plea for dignity and health for all
NEW YORK, USA, 21 November 2007 – Almost 2.6 billion people worldwide, 980 million of them children, lack access to even the most basic water and sanitation facilities – a situation that affects all aspects of their lives, from education to national development.
'Progress for Children': New house, new garden and new chance at a healthy life in Aceh
BANDA ACEH, Indonesia, 21 November 2007 – If you ask Mega where her original house was located, she points to the ground under her feet. “You are standing on it,” she says. Mega’s house, like most of the homes in her community, was destroyed during the earthquakes and tsunami that struck this coastal region on 26 December 2004.
Illness rises as desperate residents seek safe water in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe
BULAWAYO, Zimbabwe, 14 November 2007 – Twice each day, 72-year-old Emily Ncube struggles to hoist a 25-litre bucket of water onto her head. It is a gruelling chore for the frail women but a better option, she says, than making another trip to the clinic with a sick grandchild.
UNICEF-supported project brings year-round safe water to Paraguay’s semi-arid region
NAZARETH, Paraguay, 12 November 2007 – Like many communities in Paraguay’s semi-arid region, Nazareth receives nearly all of its rain between the months of November and March. During this time, safe drinking water is plentiful.
UNICEF works to improve access to safe water and sanitation in rural Mongolia
ULGII, Mongolia, 28 September 2007 – Twice a year, here in the capital of Mongolia’s westernmost province, Khuangan grabs a shovel, ties a cord around his waist and descends into the darkness to keep the water supply flowing.
Ceramic water filters improve water quality for rural communities in Myanmar
YANGON, Myanmar, 28 August 2007 – “I am not the only one who prefers to drink water from the tap of the blue bucket,” says Ma Eh Wah, a mother of two children who lives in A Pyin The Phyu village in Yangon, the capital of Myanmar.
National Pact reaffirms Brazil’s commitment to 13 million children in impoverished areas
BRASILIA, Brazil, 27 June 2007 – The lives of 13 million children living in Brazil’s impoverished semi-arid region were the focus yesterday during the signing of the second National Pact entitled, ‘A world fit for children and adolescents in the Brazilian semi-arid’.
UNICEF and European Commission support Guinea worm eradication in Ghana
ACCRA, Ghana, 15 June 2007 – At a Guinea worm containment centre in Savelugu, northern Ghana, Assana Mohammed, 10, cries out in pain. Her eyes are shut and she cannot help but try to remove the health worker’s hand from her wound. Little by little, he is extracting a long white Guinea worm from her ankle.
In Cameroon, changing attitudes and safe water mean more girls in school
MBANG, MBOUM, Cameroon, 13 June 2007 – In the village of Mbang-Mboum, traditional attitudes toward girls have long kept them out of school. Domestic chores fall to girls and women, and essential tasks like carrying water for the household take precedence over education.
School children lead sanitation drive in Nepal
GHACHOWK, KASKI DISTRICT, Nepal, 25 May 2007 - Around the countryside of the Kaski district in Nepal, school children led their communities in a sanitation drive as the Eighth National Sanitation Action Week got underway earlier this month.
UNICEF supports improved sanitation in the rebuilt homes of Aceh and Nias
BANDA ACEH, Indonesia, 9 May 2007 – Ibu Nuria is not happy. Even though she likes her newly built house in Klieng Cot Arun village, Banda Aceh, the facilities are incomplete. “There is no drainage system in place,” she says. “It concerns us.”
UNICEF hosts first preparatory meeting for 2008 International Year of Sanitation
NEW YORK, USA, 7 May 2007 – Proper sanitation: It’s a seemingly mundane thing that most people in the developed world take for granted. Yet at least 2.6 billion people – some 41 percent of the global population, including 980 million children – do not have access to latrines or other basic sanitation facilities.
Lack of adequate sanitation triggers child health concerns in Cambodia
SVAY RIENG PROVINCE, Cambodia, 4 May 2007 – Rice farmer Vorn Mao is looking forward to the rainy season to flood his family's dry and dusty rice paddies. But for him and his wife Roeung, water not only provides a livelihood. It also has been the cause of some anguish.
A young environmentalist encourages positive change in the Philippines
SAN PABLO CITY, Philippines, 24 April 2007 – Fourteen-year-old Maia Azores loves to dance and play sports just like any other teenager, but what makes her stand out from other young Filipinos is her passion for environmental activism.
At Global Kids Conference, high school students debate environmental issues
NEW YORK, USA, 26 March 2007 – Six hundred teenagers gathered in New York on Friday to debate environmental issues at the 2007 Global Kids Annual Conference entitled, ‘Do you know where your environment is?’ While experts from UNICEF and other organizations helped to guide discussions, the event was entirely youth-organized and youth-led.
Palestinians cope with water scarcity in Gaza
NEW YORK, USA, 22 March 2007 – The drawings by hundreds of Palestinian schoolchildren were on display at a ceremony in Gaza today to mark World Water Day 2007. The 25 best drawings inspired by the theme ‘Coping with Water Scarcity’ were selected as winners during the event.
UNICEF Executive Director joins Starbucks and Ethos ‘Walk for Water’
NEW YORK, USA, 22 March 2007 – Marking international World Water Day, UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman today joined more than 250 schoolchildren and hundreds of other New Yorkers in a ‘Walk for Water’ to highlight the global water crisis.
‘Clean Water’ song hits Ghana’s airwaves on World Water Day
GBURIMANI, Ghana, 22 March 2007 – In a fitting contribution to World Water Day – designed to draw attention to the water crisis affecting children and families across the globe – two of Ghana’s most popular musicians have released ‘Clean Water’, a brand new track that urges communities to consume safe water.
Lack of safe water endangers the health of Baghdad’s most deprived children
AMMAN, Jordan, 21 March 2007 – For thousands of Iraqis living in crudely built cabins in the Baghdad slums of Sab’ Qsoor, a safe drink of water used to be almost impossible to find. The area has only a few pipes to supply municipal water, and many of them are broken or contaminated.
UNICEF taps New York City restaurants to aid world water problems
NEW YORK, USA, 21 March 2007 – It’s an engineering miracle and something that’s completely taken for granted. It’s also free. It’s the tap water in New York City.
Child exploitation and Guinea worm result from lack of safe water in Ghana
ACCRA, Ghana, 14 March 2007 – Savelugu, a small town in the Savelugu-Nanton District of Ghana’s Northern Region, used to enjoy a regular supply of clean water – before the water system was no longer able to meet the needs of a growing population.
Nobel Prize-winning scientists share ideas with young leaders at BioVision Forum
LYON, France, 12 March 2007 – It's not every day that a group of children receives help on their science projects from Nobel Prize-winning scientists, especially when most of those children live in developing countries. But that's exactly what happened yesterday, the opening day of the BioVision Life Sciences Forum here, when a select group of 10 youth leaders hosted a breakfast for three Nobel Laureates.
Youth leaders brainstorm with top scientists at BioVision Forum
LYON, France, 9 March 2007 – Hannah Gama, 15, has traveled all the way from Malawi to meet some of the world’s top scientists gathering here for the BioVision World Life Sciences Forum.
Rehabilitating water systems and raising hygiene awareness in south Lebanon
HENNIYE, Lebanon, 15 February 2007 – On a bright winter day in this south Lebanese village, schoolchildren sat cross-legged on a classroom floor, eagerly watching a puppet show starring Fufu the rabbit.
Handpumps and education bring safe water and hygiene to Sudanese villages
SARAF ADEI, Sudan, 24 January 2007 – As Selma, 14, waits to fill her bucket with water at the new handpump in her village in South Kordofan State, she recalls how things were before it was installed. “My mother used to be away from the house for a long time when she went to fetch water,” she says.
Global Task Force aims to provide all children with safe water and sanitation
NEW YORK, USA, 22 January 2007 – Cherie Blair met youth delegates from India and Nigeria at UNICEF headquarters today to help start a global initiative to ensure that children everywhere have access to safe water and sanitation.
Water and hygiene facilities change lives for families in rural Viet Nam
DAI PHAC COMMUNE, Viet Nam, 17 January 2007 – During class break, Nguyen Thi Huyen, 10, and her classmates at An Thinh 1 Primary School crowd the small open area outside their new latrine and washing facilities. They wash their hands vigorously, as instructed by the teacher.
A Gambian community learns the importance of safe water
KANIFING, Gambia, 28 December 2006 – Over a year ago Ebo Town was struck by cholera, and 40,000 people were infected with the disease – one of the forms of diarrhoea that kills 2.2 million people every year, most of them children.
Safe water and a new sense of community for Central Java quake survivors
GADUNGAN PASAR, Indonesia, 14 December 2006 – Mohammad Arief injects a clear chemical from a syringe into a bucket of water drawn from a village well. His audience, mostly women and children from the village of Gadungan Pasar, watches the water with expectation.
Jay-Z presents ‘Water for Life’ – a video call to action on the global water crisis
NEW YORK, USA, 17 November 2006 – Nearly 2 million children die each year due to unsafe water and inadequate sanitation. Last night at the United Nations, American rap star Jay-Z premiered his new video diary, ‘Water For Life’, which captures his journey into areas affected by the ongoing global water crisis.
Rap star Jay-Z’s video diary to spotlight water crisis in Angola and worldwide
LUANDA, Angola, 11 October 2006 – Hip-hop idol Shawn ‘Jay-Z’ Carter, presently on an international concert tour, made a stop in Angola to produce the first segment of ‘Diary of Jay-Z: Water for Life’, a video special being produced by MTV.
Protecting the water supply of Grand Comore from future volcanic eruptions
GRAND COMORE, Comoros, 9 October 2006 – UNICEF has been working with more than 100 villages on the island of Grand Comore to ensure continued access to safe, clean water following yet another eruption of the notoriously active volcano, Mount Karthala.
School clubs spread message of hygiene across South Kordofan
SOUTH KORDOFAN, Sudan, 29 September 2006 – The students in the School Hygiene Club at Kagar-Al-Mak School in the Nuba Mountains of northern Sudan are quite busy these days. They are producing drama and songs with key messages on hygiene and sanitation that they will perform for about 600 other pupils and teachers.
Miss Ghana joins hands with UNICEF to advance child health and nutrition
GHANA, 2 October 2006 – I was elected Ghana’s beauty queen last year, but long before that moment, I knew that being Miss Ghana would be far more than just a title for me. The honour and privilege of winning the contest put me in a unique position to spend my time in service to others.
Cereal banks provide food security during Niger’s ‘lean season’
GUIDON GAZOBI, Niger, 29 September 2006 – The workday is long for the women and girls of Niger. It is still early in the morning when Mahou Abdou begins her daily chores – a series of strenuous tasks, all of which she will have completed before noon.
Schoolchildren in Tajikistan learn about hygiene and pass the lessons on
BOHTAR, Tajikistan, 27 September 2006 – The students click their fingers, stamp their feet and break out into a song with a rapper’s rhythm: “It is fresh water year. / We have some messages for you. / Boil the water you drink. / Cover your water container. / We have water running. / It runs through our village. / We should always keep it safe.”
‘Progress for Children’ reports mixed results on access to water and sanitation worldwide
NEW YORK, USA, 28 September 2006 – Safe water is fundamental to human life, yet more than 1 billion people do not have access to it.
Water and hygiene aid helps Lebanese families cope in war’s aftermath
EL KHIAM, Lebanon, 25 September 2006 – This southern Lebanese border town was severely damaged during the recent conflict between Israel and Hezbollah. No building was left untouched. More than 70 per cent of El Khiam’s houses and three of its five schools were destroyed.
Water is plentiful but not safe enough for children in DR Congo
KINSHASA, Democratic Republic of Congo, 25 September 2006 – The mighty Congo and hundreds of lesser rivers crisscross the lush countryside here, providing plentiful water, but the legacies of a decade-long war abound.
A cleaner environment for learning in the central Philippines
CAPIZ, Philippines, 22 September 2006 – The children at San Antonio Elementary School here in the central Philippines are proof that a clean environment is the best environment when it comes to learning.
Water treatment and hygiene education protect millions in Sudan
DARFUR, Sudan, 20 September 2006 – Cases of life-threatening diarrhoeal disease, including cholera, are on the increase in a region extending from the north of Sudan to southern Darfur.
Diluting the pain of arsenic poisoning in Nepal
NAWALPARASI, Nepal, 20 September 2006 – Twelve years ago, Harilal Gupta was thrilled to finally have a tube well dug at his doorstep. Little did he know that the well water was contaminated with arsenic.
Reducing arsenic poisoning in Bangladesh
MUNSHIGANJ, Bangladesh, 11 September 2006 – Salma Begum would lie awake at night, unable to sleep for worrying about who would take care of her children if she died of cancer. Although she hadn’t been diagnosed, what else could explain the discolourings on her arms, the pain and lesions, the feeling that her skin was burning?
‘WASH’ strategy improves access to safe water and sanitation in Niger
GUIDAN GAZOBI, Niger, 8 September 2006 – Access to safe drinking water is a daily struggle for the people of Niger, especially women and girls, who are responsible for collecting water for their families.
Pakistan’s children thirsty for safer water
RAHIM YAR KHAN, Pakistan, 31 August 2006 – Surrounded by vast mango groves and freshly tilled fields, Basti Yar Muhammad, a village of 200 people in the south of Punjab Province, is bracing itself for a storm. Dark, pregnant clouds hang low and a hot wind stirs up a veil of dust. The village welcomes the rain where daytime temperatures soar.
UNICEF teams race to save children after diarrhoea outbreaks in Ethiopia and Kenya
ADALE, Ethiopia, 20 July 2006 – Abdi Kafi, 4, lies crying in his mother’s arms, weak and listless after three weeks of recurrent diarrhoea.
UNICEF and Volvic Germany provide safe water in rural Ethiopia
SOUTH GONDAR, Ethiopia, 14 July 2006 – Yezab Menge and her neighbour help each other strap large earthenware pots filled with over 15 litres of clean water onto their backs. The water is drawn with a hand pump from a well constructed in their district using funds donated by bottled-water supplier Volvic Germany through the German Committee for UNICEF.
‘Friends of WASH’ bring hygiene-friendly schools to Madagascar
MANJAKANDRINA, Madagascar, 6 July 2006 – “Hello, my name is Joe. Welcome to our school,” says a beaming eight-year-old. Following the warm reception, he gives visitors a tour and proudly shows off his school’s new latrines.
Nicaragua and Colombia: Young people help improve water safety in their communities
MEXICO CITY, Mexico, 4 April 2006 – At the Children’s World Water Forum, held in Mexico’s capital from 16 to 22 March, children reported to one another on their water and sanitation projects around the globe – including some important initiatives here in Latin America. Following are profiles of two such projects in Nicaragua and Colombia, and the young activists behind them.
Kilima’s burden: Access to water a daily struggle for women in Niger
SAFO NASSARAOUA, Niger, 23 March 2006 – Kilima Sabaou has dreams for her family. She wants to find a job to earn some extra money so she can buy food. She wants to know where her children are in the mornings and help them with basic care. But she cannot do any of this. Water is Kilima’s burden.
World Water Day: Children call for action on access to safe water
MEXICO CITY, Mexico, 22 March 2006 – On World Water Day, as the 4th World Water Forum here draws to a close, the voices of debate and discussion have fallen silent to hear and consider a clarion call to action from children.
At the Children’s World Water Forum, a girl from Kenya shares her views
MEXICO CITY, Mexico, 20 March 2006 – Yesterday, a delegation of African children attended the 4th World Water Forum, where adult decision-makers are meeting to raise awareness about global water issues. The young people have been participating in the Children’s World Water Forum, which is also being held here this week.
Children’s World Water Forum: Calling for change
MEXICO CITY, Mexico, 17 March 2006 – Dressed in the universal teenage uniform of scruffy jeans and t-shirts, the young people arriving in Mexico for the Children’s World Water Forum look as though they could be from the same school or community.
Children to speak out at World Water Forum in Mexico City
NEW YORK, USA, 16 March 2006 – Children are bearing the brunt of a global crisis that is keeping safe, clean water beyond the reach of 1.1 billion people. Because children are the most vulnerable and the hardest-hit, UNICEF believes the water situation will improve only when children’s needs are given priority and their views are heard by decision-makers.
Girls transform slum area in Bangladesh by educating their neighbours on hygienic living
DHAKA, Bangladesh, 15 March 2006 – Dolly Akter has a simple theory: “Life is for help.” The 16-year-old will have a chance to help and influence many people this week when she takes part in the Children’s World Water Forum in Mexico City.
UNICEF-supported water tanks bring clean water to communities in Monrovia
MONROVIA, Liberia, 23 February 2006 – Before the UNICEF water tanks were brought into Jallah Town, in the eastern part of the capital city, 72-year-old Jallah Kollie and his family had to spend hours each day finding enough clean drinking water for their needs.
UNICEF and ECHO bring clean drinking water to villagers in Sudan's Nuba Mountains
NUBA MOUNTAINS, Sudan, 21 February 2006 – For people living in the Nuba Mountains of South Kordofan, central Sudan, getting enough clean water has long been a difficult task. Working with ECHO, the European Community’s Humanitarian Aid Department, UNICEF has turned the situation around, building and rehabilitating the region’s water system to ensure more than 110,000 people have access to safe drinking water.
Restoring water supplies in quake-affected Pakistan
MUZAFFARABAD, Pakistan, 6 January 2006 – Nearly three months after the earthquake that devastated the Pakistan-India border region, UNICEF pursues its relief efforts in the area. The distribution of clean water to affected people remains a priority. Thanks to repair work and temporary supply arrangements, the water needs of nearly 90 per cent of Pakistan’s quake-affected population – including both camp residents and city dwellers – are now being met.
WASH initiative highlights African women’s needs for improved water and sanitation
NEW YORK, 15 September 2005 – As world leaders meet at the United Nations World Summit, UNICEF is helping call attention to a problem that condemns millions of women and children in sub-Saharan Africa to a life of illness and lost opportunities: Poor access to water and basic sanitation.
Decade of Water For Life: ‘We must not fail’
NEW YORK, 21 April 2005 – The ‘Decade of Water for Life’ was launched by United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan in New York today. The Decade calls for a commitment to action in order to halve by 2015 the number of people with no access to safe water or basic sanitation.
UNICEF brings clean water to schools in Myanmar
KAWHMU, Myanmar, 11 April 2005 - Every morning, the students of Aphyauk primary school start their day with a song. But it’s not the alphabet song or a nursery rhyme. It’s a catchy tune about scrubbing well with soap and water. Lead by their teacher, Daw Khin Sein Mya, the children dance while they sing, moving their hands in small circles to demonstrate a proper scrubbing motion.
World Water Day 2005: 4,000 children die each day from a lack of safe water
NEW YORK, 20 March 2005 – Two buckets of safe water a day – 20 litres – is the bare minimum a child needs to live. This is enough for drinking and eating, washing and basic sanitation. But some 4000 children die every day, because they simply don’t have access to an adequate supply of clean water.
Water: The key to life and future development
HOUAY HID VILLAGE, Lao PDR, 25 October 2004 - Houay Hid village, in the foothills of Nam Bak district, Luang Prabang province, is surrounded by forest and fertile paddy fields. Its residents seem to have everything they need for a prosperous and healthy life.
Clean water brings health and happiness to mothers and children
MABUIA, Angola, 26 August 2004 – For as long as she can remember – from when she was a little girl to when she became a young woman and then a mother – a dominant theme in Fatima’s life was her struggle to cope with the harmful effects of unclean water.
Bad water kills 4,000 children a day
NEW YORK, 25 August 2004 - A dead fox has just been removed from a community well in southern Sudan. Unaware of the danger from contamination, the villagers continue to drink the water. They don’t realise they’re risking their lives.
Water and sanitation bring children back to school
KENYA, 25 August 2004 - Safe water and adequate sanitation in schools are as important to quality education as books and pencils. But in many schools basic facilities are not provided. As a result, children may stay away.
World not on track to meet the Millennium Development Goals for sanitation
New figures from the UNICEF/WHO Joint Monitoring Programme show that the sanitation target of halving the number of unserved people worldwide by 2015 will not be met without a dramatic acceleration in the provision of services.
World Water Day 2004 focuses on water in emergency situations
In crisis situations, such as civil conflicts, war or natural disasters, children are particularly vulnerable to the dangers of dirty water.
Tajikistan Child Water Forum
The Government of Tajikistan is organizing the National Children’s Water Forum (non-UNICEF site, opens in a new window) to create a platform for children to discuss and speak about issues related to water, hygiene and sanitation and how children, the government and others can act in response to these issues.
Responding in Iraq
A UNICEF-supported post-conflict assessment has found that 40 per cent of the Baghdad water network is damaged a quarter of the country’s water treatment plants are in poor condition.
Promoting Children’s Participation
A first ever Children’s World Water Forum was held in conjunction with the 3rd World Water Forum (Japan, March 2003). Organized explicitly to promote learning and dialogue on what young people know and do in the sector, the CWWF provided an opportunity to examine the difference their involvement can make in the sector. 110 young delegates from 32 countries, 65% from the less developed and lower-income countries, presented their experiences and perspectives on the forum’s four primary topics: household water security, the school water and sanitation environment, emergencies, and water and culture. UNICEF co-organized the CWWF in partnership with a consortium of Japan-based NGOs.
Past newsline articles
Archive of news items on water, sanitation and hygiene from UNICEF...
World Water Day