Child Survival and Development




Feature Stories


Water, Sanitation and Hygiene

© UNICEF/MLIA2009-00215/Pirozzi
Women and girls often spend hours a day hauling water from the local drinking source. UNICEF is working to improve the availability of safe water.

Less than half of the population does not have access to safe drinking water and 55 per cent of Malians do not have access to a latrine or toilet. These are contributing factors to the high number of children who die from preventable disease, such as diarrhoea. As they become older, lack of water and poor sanitation continues to be one of the main trials, particularly for girls. They are saddled with the arduous task of fetching water and may even have to miss school for household chores. Also parents are wary about sending their girls to school, which do not have separate latrines for their privacy.

The Mali-UNICEF country programme works with national and international partners to ensure provision and sustainable management of safe water supplies and sanitation in communities, particularly in schools, health centres and for those living in remote, poor rural areas. Promoting hygiene education in all schools throughout the country, as well as in the communities, is a priority for the programme.

Investing in sanitation is one of the most efficient investments for poverty reduction, as well as child survival. UNICEF Mali places a special emphasis on supporting improved sanitation in Mali as the country is currently not on track to meet the MDGs for sanitation.

© UNICEF/MLIA2009-00294/Dicko
Handwashing with soap or ash at key points throughout the day is essential to cutting disease transmission.

Key initiatives and advocacy include:

  • Promotion of hand washing with soap (or ash);
  • Support for community-led total sanitation (CLTS);
  • WASH in school, specifically, with improved sanitation for girls;
  • Promotion of low-cost techniques for water supply delivery
  • Eradication of Guinea Worm and water-borne disease
  • Monitoring and evaluating the WASH sector;
  • Responding to emergencies.

Following the guidelines given by the e-Thekwini declaration of AfricaSan 2008, the Mali-UNICEF country programme supports the emergence of the Ministry of Environment and Sanitation (and its National Directorate of Sanitation) as the principal, accountable institution to take clear leadership of the national sanitation portfolio.

UNICEF Mali provides technical support to the National Directorate of Sanitation (i) to regularly consult and coordinate with main stakeholders engaged in sanitation projects and (ii) to monitor the sanitation projects implemented by these stakeholders.

The challenge is then to provide continuous support to the National Directorate of Sanitation (capacity building, achieving consistent results) to strengthen its leadership and promote sanitation initiatives throughout government and with non-governmental partners.





Supporting WASH in Schools

Click on the link below for a brief interview with Professor Salikou Sonogo of Mali's Ministry of  Education, Literacy and National Languages.

[View clip]

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