Communities take sanitation a gear up in Baghdad

Communities take sanitation a gear up in Baghdad

Hussein Al Azzawi
Children in action cleaning up their community in Baghdad
UNICEF IRAQ 2020
11 August 2020

As of the 6th of August 2020, the total COVID-19 confirmed cases in Iraq had reached over 140,603 individuals with almost 40% being female, while in Baghdad, the total number of confirmed cases had reached over 45,000.

COVID-19 has had many impacts on the generation and management of solid waste. The shift to mostly working at home translates to increased generation of waste in residential areas. Furthermore, with the rise in the use of protective clothing  there has been a huge increase in the generation of waste in the form of masks, gloves and other personnel protective equipment used to prevent COVID-19.

With support from DFID, UNICEF and partners managed to support  the community to be more resilient to the shocks and mitigate the impact of COVID-19 among the most neglected communities in Al Sadir 1 and 2, Dora, Al Shoula and Al Hurriya locations within Baghdad by encouraging the engagement of those communities to carry out the cleaning and solid waste collection and disposal in their environment.

Under the slogan dubbed “My Environment is Clean and Beautiful”, UNICEF-WASH programme in collaboration and through cost sharing mechanism with the municipal awareness department at the mayoralty of Baghdad has launched a massive cleaning up campaigns on garbage collection and proper disposal. The campaign sent out a loud and clear message and further encouraged other residences to respect the environment by controlling their waste/garbage.

The project focuses on supporting people with communal garbage bins and critical key messages on COVID-19 as well as dissemination of UNICEF developed awareness magazines advocate for handwashing, promote healthier environment and water conservation to children in the above areas.

 

A clean street in Baghdad after the community clean up exercise
UNICEF IRAQ 2020
A clean street in Baghdad after the community clean up exercise

Streets are clean and safe for children to play in as a result of this initiative. The scale of influence for these ongoing campaigns can be easily seen through the active interaction by the community on social media which has been reached over 100,000 inhabitants, Iraqi TV channels broadcasting and with feedback coming from people on this initiative. Furthermore, nearby communities have started the cleaning up their avenues and carrying out garbage collection and disposal, while UNICEF supports by providing them with garbage bins.

A child helps out with the cleaning in their street
UNICEF IRAQ 2020
A child helps out with the cleaning in their street

UNICEF in the process of scaling up this initiative to cover additional 22 sectors within the most vulnerable community through the provision of additional 500 garbage bins and replicate to other locations within Baghdad, while many requests to join from other governorates are coming in order to engage in this competition in their communities.

 

Hussein Al Azzawi is a WASH Officer for UNICEF in Iraq