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South Sudan, 25 November 2014: USAID and UNICEF launch initiative to provide clean water, sanitation and hygiene, and prevent gender-based violence

25 November 2014, JUBA, South Sudan – The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) announced today the start of a new partnership worth US$ 14 million to improve water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services for chronically vulnerable and displaced populations in South Sudan, to help prevent violence toward women and girls and provide support services to those affected by gender-based violence.

The two-year program, to be implemented by UNICEF, will directly benefit more than 130,000 people affected by emergencies in Unity, Upper Nile, Jonglei, Central and Eastern Equatoria – by facilitating direct access to safe water, improved sanitation facilities and better hygiene knowledge and practices as well as prevent and respond to gender-based violence.

Since the onset of the conflict in South Sudan in December 2013, close to 1.5 million people, mostly women and children, have been displaced from their homes and are now living in remote areas without access to basic services or in overcrowded settlements where the lack of privacy and unhygienic conditions threatens their health and security. Even before the crisis, less than half of the population had access to safe water and only one in four people had adequate sanitation facilities like toilets. Gender-based violence, while already a pervasive problem in South Sudan, is now reported to be at crisis levels with women and girls reporting rapes, physical assaults, early and forced marriages and psychological abuse.

“The US Government welcomes this opportunity to demonstrate our commitment to support communities affected by emergencies with safe drinking water and sanitation facilities as well as restore the dignity of women and girls affected by gender-based violence,” said U.S. Chargé d’Affaires Ambassador Charles Twining.

“Every child has the right to grow up safe from the threats posed to their health by unsafe water and poor sanitation.” said UNICEF’s Representative in South Sudan, Mr. Jonathan Veitch. “The horrific and unacceptable violence that children are experiencing and witnessing during this conflict could have serious long-term effects on an entire generation. Through our strengthened partnership with USAID, we can support the most vulnerable and give a voice to those who have been silenced.”

This new program builds on the existing partnership between USAID and UNICEF to provide both emergency relief and development activities that improve the health, safety and long-term well-being of the people of South Sudan.

“We are pleased to be building on our partnership with UNICEF, which includes education for displaced and out-of-school children, as well as emergency nutrition, health and protection activities,” said U.S. Chargé d’Affaires Ambassador Charles Twining.

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For more information, please contact:

Henry Andrea, Media Affairs Assistant, U.S Embassy in South Sudan Tel: +211-912-459-801, +211-912-152-994, andreahj@state.gov

Mercy Kolok, Communication Officer, UNICEF South Sudan Tel: +211-929-517-862, mkolok@unicef.org

 

 
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