Water, sanitation and hygiene

Every child has a right to water, sanitation and a safe and clean community.



The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has over 50% of the African continent’s water reserves but despite this tremendous potential, 33 million people in rural areas still lack access to quality water. Despite sustained efforts, only 52% of the population has access to an improved water source and 29% has improved sanitation facilities.

At the same time, chronic malnutrition affects 43% of children between 0 and 5 years of age throughout the country. Malnutrition is a result of multiple causes, such as lack of access to safe drinking water, sanitation services and failure to practice basic hygiene practices. Generally, access to safe water and to adequate sanitary and hygienic conditions make it possible to prevent many other waterborne diseases. On the other hand, chronic conflicts in several provinces facilitate the spread of water-borne diseases due to large movements of population. The arrival of displaced people in host communities, with a low rate of access to drinking water, increases the pressure on available resources.

The DRC is a country where cholera is endemic, and has been battling an Ebola outbreak since August 2018.


In the DRC and around the world, UNICEF is working to improve access to safe drinking water supply, adequate sanitation facilities in schools and communities, and promote hygienic practices at critical times.

Des enfants devant les latrines de leur école.

Through the national program "Healthy School and Village", UNICEF aims to prevent diarrheal diseases and other waterborne diseases. Since 2008, 7,280,497 people and 983,212 schoolchildren have benefited from improved water, hygiene and sanitation services in 8,759 villages and 2,370 certified schools. Since 2018, health centers have been integrated into the program.

Jean Marie Bofio montre à des enfants comment correctement se laver les mains.

In the realm of emergencies, UNICEF supports the fight against cholera and Ebola by increasing access to safe drinking water, ensuring the availability of water treatment products and rehabilitating and redeveloping water points. of water. Emergency interventions are carried out for displaced persons and host communities.

Une jeune fille portant de l'eau sur sa tête.

UNICEF is also working to improve the water, sanitation and hygiene sector's enabling environment at a national level by strengthening the institutional framework (policies, legislation and mechanisms for coordination and monitoring and evaluation) and development of government actors and civil society organizations.