UNICEF’s WASH and Climate Change Resilience programme supports Lao PDR in its efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), targeting specifically the most disadvantaged children and their families and ensuring they have equitable access to and use of sustainable improved source of water and basic sanitation facilities.
UNICEF also promotes good hygiene behaviours and works with the Ministry of Education and Sports to promote daily hygiene practice in primary and pre-primary schools by creating an enabling environment for behaviour change with students’ participation. Furthermore, the Ministry of Education and Sports is currently developing WASH in Schools (WinS) national standards with UNICEF’s support.
UNICEF also works towards supporting communities to improve sanitation and eliminate open defecation, and promote handwashing and water safety planning. Along with the Ministry of Health, UNICEF is testing a new approach called ‘District-Wide Approach for Elimination of Open Defecation in Borikhamxay Province’. So far, 3 districts within this province have been declared Open-Defecation Free (ODF). By 2020, it is expected that the entire province will be declared ODF. Thanks to this model, UNICEF and the Government of Lao PDR expect to accelerate sanitation coverage, stop open defecation and gradually climb the sanitation ladder.