Young Child Survival and Development

Young Child Survival and Development


Water, Sanitation and Hygiene

© UNICEF/Egypt 2005/ Giacomo Pirozzi
In rural poor households, children are 8.7 times more likely to drink from unsafe sources of water than children who live in urban households

Egypt has made significant progress in terms of direct access to safe drinking water at household level (92.4%) and basic sanitation services (92.9%)  in the last decades. Yet, access is uneven and stark geographical and socio-economic disparities persist affecting the living conditions and health of millions of Egyptian children and their families.

In rural poor households, children are 8.7 times more likely to drink from unsafe sources of water that are open or located a half hour’s round trip from their home than children who live in urban households, and 6% of women and girls spend time collecting water – up to five or six hours daily in some cases.

In addition trends of disparities related to the public sewage system are also prevalent. An estimated 89% of household in urban areas are covered by public sewer system compared to 37% in rural areas. Only 6% of Egyptian villages are provided with sanitation (wastewater treatment) service . Children in rural households are 8.5 times more likely than their urban peers to have no toilet facilities and nearly 10% of households in rural areas use shared toilet facilities.

Consequently, lack of access to safe water and proper sanitation services coupled with low level of good (appropriate) hygiene practises lead to the spread of water related diseases , and have a significant impact on children's health and nutrition.  It is estimated that around 9.1% of the mortality of children under-five years is due to acute diarrhoeal disease.

UNICEF’s Interventions

UNICEF aims at promoting healthy lives of children and women through facilitating access to safe water at household level as well as raising awareness on hygienic and environmentally-friendly practices. The project has been working for several years with the Holding Company for Water and Wastewater (HCWW), and local authority, in rural districts of Upper Egypt, reaching thousands of families with water supply connections and better hygiene practices.

Access to Safe Water:

UNICEF assists the most deprived families to connect to the main water distribution network. A Revolving Fund (RF) mechanism, managed in partnership with HCWW and governorate authorities has been developed to this effect.  Since 2007, around 6,200 household connections were realized reaching an estimated population of 35,000 persons in three Upper Egypt governorates, mainly Assuit, Sohag and Qena. The initiative is currently being expanded to four new districts in Assiut and Sohag. UNICEF is also building the capacity of HCWW, in the targeted governorates, to manage the RF and generate additional household water connections.

Raising Awareness on Better Hygiene, Sanitation and Environmentally-Friendly Practises:

In addition to facilitating access to safe water, UNICEF raises families awareness on better hygienic and environmentally-friendly practices, with special focus on hand-washing with soap, proper disposal of wastewater and human waste, food hygienic behaviour, rational use of water and preservation of the environment. This intervention is carried out through community mobilization effort (e.g, community gatherings, festivals, women group meeting, child-to-child approaches, women-to-women approaches, as well as home visits) in the targeted governorates. Since 2007, more than 6,200 families were reached with proper information on hygiene, sanitation and environmentally-friendly practises. With the expansion of this initiative additional vulnerable communities in Assiut and Sohag governorates will also be reached. 

In addition since 2007, around 200,000 school children in 374 primary schools were reached with hygiene education in  Assuit, Sohag and Qena governorates. The project included building the capacity of around 2000 Ministry of Education staff and schools teachers to carry out the awareness activities.

Programme Expected Results

• 3,500 new household water connections realised every year giving access to safe water to around 15,000 people.
• The above mentioned households will be sensitized to adopt better hygiene practices.

Above expected results will be increased as additional funding is successfully mobilized






  • Estimated number of Egyptians without household water connections : 6,400,000 individuals
  • Estimated number of Egyptians without basic sanitation services: 6,400,000 individuals
  • Estimated number of children under the age of 5 who die, every year, due to diarrhoeal disease: 4,500 child


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