Building a safe environment for the well-being of children

With no access to safe water in the past, population had to use water from the pond

Lea Biteau
WASH in Gore
UNICEF CHAD/2019/Biteau

04 November 2019

Hyppolite, 32 years old, lives with her husband and their eight children in Bessey, a small village near Goré, in Logone Oriental province. The rehabilitation of the water points in this village improves considerably their living conditions.

Hyppolite
UNICEF CHAD/2019/Biteau

Before, I used to get water from the pond, but now thanks to the borehole, I can easily collect safe water. Since then, my children have not fallen sick

Hyppolite

Bessey is one of the 19 villages/sites benefiting of the rehabilitation of boreholes and handpumps within the PURCAE II project “Emergency Food and Livestock Crisis Response”. Funded by the World Bank, the initiative allows communities to have access to safe water and therefore lead to a decrease in illness rates, especially linked to diarrheal cases which mostly affect, and sometimes kill, children.[1]

Communities are directly involved in the management of water points, ensuring a long-term functioning of the new system. In fact, each water point is managed by a committee, composed of 5 members — a president, a secretary, a treasurer, a maintenance manager, and one in charge of hygiene. On a monthly basis, they collect contributions from the households of the benefitting village for a common fund which can be used in case the local water point needs to be repaired.

Richard, the president of the committee in the village of Kobiteye, highlights: “Within the committee, the roles are well defined. We implemented internal rules so that all the community members, in addition to those on the committee, are involved in the proper functioning of the water point by committing to respect the common rules”. This is a key aspect for ensuring long-term commitment and community-based ownership of a vital and basic shared good.

The Water Point Management Committee in Kobiteye village
UNICEF CHAD/2019/Biteau

Boreholes and handpumps have been rehabilitated, and the committees’ members have been trained on water services management, maintenance and basic accounting, thanks to the support of UNICEF and the Ministry of Environment, Water and Fishery (MEWF), through funding by the World Bank Group.

In these targeted villages, UNICEF also organizes awareness-raising activities to promote the construction of latrines based on the Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) approach. This approach aims at sensitizing and mobilizing communities on the importance of ending open air defecation, a bad practise which could cause diarrheal related diseases. In Kobiteye, since the beginning of the project back in 2018, 214 households (out of 315) have constructed their own latrines, working towards an open-air defecation-free environment. Richard explains “We understood that using a latrine reduces the risk of contamination.”

This project contributes to creating a safe and healthy environment over the long term, meaning that vulnerability to disease is weaker, especially for younger populations. Improved access to safe water, combined with good hygiene and sanitation practices and conditions, are fundamental in the fight to allowing children to be in good health. Let’s take the path towards the fulfilment of children’s rights, and help them live in safe places!

[1] The prevalence of diarrhea in this province is 31.4% (EDS-MICS).

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As part of the Emergency Food and Livestock Crisis Response Project, funded by the World Bank Group, UNICEF is supporting the Government of Chad by providing technical assistance to increase access to sustainable water services and safe cooking systems to 46,000 people in 18 villages/sites in Moyen Chari and Logone Oriental and 1 site in Logone Occidental.