Child Survival and Development




Feature Stories


Water, Sanitation and Hygiene

© UNICEF/MLIA2010-00218/Pirozzi
In Gao region, a boy carries water from a muddy pond, which is a potential source of Guinea Worm.

Hand washing with Soap:

Events in every region are regularly organized to promote this essential hygiene practice. Most recently, to celebrate Global Hand washing Day, UNICEF, together with the Ministries of Health and Education, organized multiple events in Bamako and Regional capitals:

• In Gao, children spoke to UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and Belgian astronaut Frank De Winne from the European Space Agency – live from space. He had come to Mali before his mission in space to advocate about hygiene and access to water in the desert areas.(2009)
• In Bamako, school children, the President of the Republic of Mali as the Master of Ceremony and key Ministers were treated to a free concert by musician Habib Koite; free hand washing kits were distributed to all participants (2009)
• In six communes of Bamako, concerts, street theatre and radio programmes were held simultaneously along with similar key activities and celebrations across the country (2010)
• UNICEF supported the first “Tour du Mali Cycliste,” an international cycling competition and one of Mali’s largest-ever organized events, which took place over the course of a week in ten cities. Activities focused on “four key behaviours to save lives”: hand washing with soap, exclusive breastfeeding, sleeping under mosquito net, oral rehydration therapy and zinc during diarrhoea. (2010)


Following the sub-regional training workshop on Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS), UNICEF Mali organized a national training workshop and three regional training workshops in Mopti, Kayes and Ségou regions. These workshops gathered participants from main institutions (Environment & Sanitation, Health, and Water Supply), National NGO networks (traditional communicators, community health, women associations, etc.) and INGOs.
After an effective demonstration on the feasibility of CLTS in Mali in 15 pilot villages (march-June 2009), UNICEF has worked to empower communities and governmental counterparts to develop CLTS at scale in Mali with outstanding results. The CLTS approached has since been appropriated and adopted by national institutions, development agencies and NGOs as the most effective intervention to put Mali back on track on the MDGs for sanitation.

WASH in schools:

In Mali, it is estimated that only 57 per cent of schools have sanitation facilities. Only about 12 per cent of these schools have separate toilets for girls and boys.

Taking into account the poor hygiene conditions prevailing in many Malian schools, important advocacy activities were implemented by UNICEF towards the Ministries of Education, Health, Water and Sanitation in order to raise the priority of WASH in schools within the political agenda. UNICEF Mali therefore supported the formulation of the National Strategy for Hygiene Education in Schools. This prepares areas of intervention in the following fields:

• Training teachers and future teachers (include hygiene education in their curricula) for hygiene education and HIV/AIDS prevention;
• Standardizing communication tools for hygiene education (leaflets, posters…) and HIV/AIDS prevention;
• Building child-friendly water sources in schools and separate blocs for girls and boys;
• Monitoring the improvement of hygiene awareness among children.

Additionally, through construction of new water sources, UNICEF contributes to reduce the burden of fetching water for girls and women, thereby allowing them to spend more time on education, play and generating activities. By providing adequate WASH facilities in schools (with separate latrine blocs for boys and girls and hand washing facilities), UNICEF is positively influencing enrolment, attendance and achievement.

Promotion of low-cost techniques for water supply:

• Promotion of manual drilling: After mapping suitable manual drilling locations, UNICEF Mali along with hydraulic authorities have adopted a strategy to implement low-cost drilling techniques within the national water supply. UNICEF has created a two-year program aimed at developing the capacity of the private sector for the construction of hand-drilled boreholes;
• Promotion of Household Water Treatment and Safe Storage (HWTS): Within the framework of the National Information Day for the Promotion of HWTS, UNICEF Mali and the Ministry of Health have initiated a pilot project for the promotion of HWTS through the production of chlorine solution via electrolysis. This pilot phase is expected to offer improved drinking water quality for 50,000 beneficiaries, including 40 health units/schools/water supply piped schemes and to create income-generating activities for approximately 30 small-scale service providers. According to the results of this pilot, a scaling-up phase will be developed in collaboration with national counterparts;
• Promotion of self-supply: UNICEF supported national and regional health and hydraulic partners to pilot self-supply promotion in three regions. This pilot project strengthened the local capacity to respond to grassroots demand from well owners and the established a “ladder” approach. Several well diggers and masons in each region were trained in wellhead protection, which has led to the improvement of water supply. UNICEF also contributed to the implementation of a national workshop for capacity building of health workers and small-scale services providers.

Water Supply and Guinea Worm Eradication:

UNICEF Mali consistently contributes to the implementation and the coordination of the Guinea Worm Eradication Program (GWEP), which established the 2009 Action Plan.  It is proven that improved water supply leads to a drastic reduction and/or elimination of Guinea Worm cases, a total of 100 broken pumps were rehabilitated in 80 villages and 43 new productive wells have been constructed in the Guinea Worm endemic areas of Mopti region.

Moreover, in one of the most remote and endemic region of Mali, Kidal (35 cases recorded in 2009), UNICEF established a partnership with Doctors of the World (Belgium) to implement the GWEP. Within this partnership, activities include: provision of health care to affected populations, GW prevention activities, the strengthening of surveillance mechanisms, treatment of water ponds and capacity building for regional health staff. In addition, UNICEF has also built four productive boreholes for the populations of endemic villages.

As 96 out of the 114 total reported cases in country during 2009 were in Gao Region, 15 new wells were sunk and equipped with hand pumps in 2008. The construction of 20 additional new wells, the rehabilitation of 21 boreholes and the construction of five water supply piped schemes powered with solar panel began in 2010. This new contribution it is expected to have a very significant impact on the prevalence of Guinea Worm disease in the northern regions which are the last regions remaining to be freed of the disease before Mali can be considered as a Guinea Worm free country.

Monitoring and evaluation of the WASH sector:

• Co-organization of the JMP workshop with WHO Mali (Madagascar, Bénin, Sénégal and Burkina Faso represented) which contributed:
o To improve the coherence among the different monitoring methods used to follow-up progress towards the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) target for drinking water and sanitation.
o To introduce and gather recommendations for the UN-Water Global Annual Assessment of Sanitation and Drinking-Water (GLAAS), a new approach to reporting on progress in the sanitation and drinking-water that shall allow strengthening evidence-based policy-making towards the MDGs.
• In collaboration with the WCARO, implementation of a Regional training workshop to introduce CATS in 10 francophone country of the sub-region (Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Congo Brazzaville, Guinea Conakry, Ghana, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal) and several key stakeholders (WaterAid Mali and Nigeria, Plan International Mali, CREPA HQ and Mali)

Responding to Emergencies:

In 2009, UNICEF and its national counterparts put a specific emphasis on the consolidation of emergency preparedness mechanisms to face foreseeable crisis, notably cholera outbreaks (in Kayes and Mopti Regions) and floods (Mopti, Kayes and Segou Regions). In Kidal Region, the current water supply (as of 2010) is seriously worsening as the underground water table level has drastically and precariously lowered, compared to the level at the same time two years ago.).
To cope with this emerging situation, UNICEF Mali is developing an emergency response for water supply in Kidal Region. The objectives of the operation are (i) to ensure the access to safe and reliable drinking water to the population of the Region of Kidal (and around Kidal City) through emergency repairs, (ii) to avert a foreseeable food crisis and curb chronic malnutrition and (iii) to improve the living conditions, health state and mortality/morbidity rates of the targeted population by avoiding water and sanitation related diseases. The overall outcome is to provide reliable and safe drinking water in sufficient quantity and quality to around 20,000 inhabitants victims of drought and potentially struck by serious water shortages.



 Email this article

unite for children