FREETOWN, Sierra Leone, 12 April 2013 – Today UNICEF handed over 73 motorbikes to 20 NGOs implementing water and sanitation projects in Sierra Leone. The bikes will be used for monitoring and implementation of water and sanitation projects aiming at building or rehabilitating wells and sanitation facilities in schools, health centers and communities.
The project is part of the acceleration of efforts of development partners to reach the Millennium Development Goals by 2015. The event was carried out in the presence of the Deputy Minister of Water Resources and a representative of the UK government as the main donor of the project.
“With our ambitious goal in mind I am very happy to have such strong partners like the UK Government, which has been one of the most important donors and supporters of the water sector in Sierra Leone, and UNICEF, which has been supporting the government in its efforts to improve the situation of children in the country and tackle the high child and maternal mortality rates,” said Deputy Minister Randolph Bayoh. “I would also like to express my appreciation for the hard work of our implementing partners, 20 of them being represented here today.”
Across Sierra Leone, only 57% of households have access to safe drinking water sources. An unequal distribution of resources makes rural populations especially vulnerable. While 76% of urban households have access to safe water sources, only 48% in rural areas do. Surface water is the main source of drinking water in rural areas (34%), exposing the population to waterborne diseases. Only 12.8% of the population has access to proper sanitation facilities. Urban dwellers are more likely than rural households to have sanitation facilities (20% and 9%, respectively).
Lynne Featherstone, International Development Minister, said: “Good sanitation and clean water are some of the best weapons against disease, which is why the UK is supporting UNICEF’s efforts to deliver drinking water, latrines and sanitation facilities to thousands of people across Sierra Leone. These motorbikes are an excellent investment, helping NGOs deliver life-saving facilities to some of the country’s more remote regions.”
UNICEF’s Hygiene, Sanitation and Water Supply Programme support to the government’s strategy and aims at increasing equitable and sustainable access to, and use of, safe water and basic sanitation services, as well as promoting proper hygiene behaviour in rural areas
“Contaminated water and sanitation facilities can lead to a number of diseases that contribute substantially to the high child and maternal mortality rates in Sierra Leone,” explained Gopal Sharma, Deputy Representative UNICEF Sierra Leone. “Reaching the Millennium Development Goals means reducing child and maternal mortality rates and enable the children of this country to develop to their full potential and contribute positively to the development of Sierra Leone.”
“On behalf of the implementing partners of UNCEF WASH, I would like to express my gratitude and appreciation for this donation”, said Ernest P Sesay, Director of Family Homes Movement. “With these motorbikes the hurdles of reaching out to remote communities will be a problem of the past.”
UNICEF works in more than 190 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments. For more information about UNICEF and its work visit: www.unicef.org
For more information, please contact:
Angela Griep, Head External Relations, Advocacy and Leveraging Resources, UNICEF Sierra Leone, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Tel: +232 22 235 730/735, Cell: +232 76 912 059