UNICEF’s high-impact construction projects reach millions of children
Select projects are benefiting millions of children and people in communities with education, water and health services.
UNICEF is placing greater emphasis on building infrastructure for children through, for example, an almost 50 per cent increase in the total value of construction contracts between 2018 and 2021.
Construction projects with many beneficiaries are complex and involve multiple stakeholders – from non-governmental organizations, national and local governments, private construction companies and people in communities. UNICEF supports high-impact construction projects such as new central vaccine cold stores, life-saving water treatment plants and public school system infrastructure through:
- Technical expertise, including in project management and quality assurance.
- Experience in mobilizing and coordinating multiple stakeholders.
UNICEF is engaged with partners and stakeholders at each phase of these projects. We listen to governments to understand their needs and serve as advisors in designing construction solutions. As a trusted partner of large international donors, we help mobilize funding. We procure the services of qualified private sector engineering firms and construction companies, often implementing construction through non-governmental organizations. And we support governments in quality assurance, project management and promotion of sustainable building techniques.
Below are three examples of UNICEF’s large-scale construction projects that are improving the lives of millions of children and families.
Closing the gaps in access to clean water, sanitation and waste management
Tajikistan’s population is growing faster than in any other country in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. With a median age of 23, the population is young and predominantly rural. Around 74 per cent of people live in rural areas. In 2020, the Government of Tajikistan and the World Health Organization, surveyed 350 health care facilities and discovered significant gaps in access to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), especially hand hygiene, environmental cleaning and sanitation. Only 55 per cent of schools have access to safe water and 48 per cent have access to functioning water supply systems.
UNICEF stepped into action with a new WASH strategy aimed at addressing water and sanitation access in the country, including in health care facilities and schools. As a part of this strategy, UNICEF launched a 2020-2025 project valued at USD 12.6 million to enhance WASH and waste management infrastructure at 42 health centres in 37 districts across the country. A related project, completed in 2021, rehabilitated WASH infrastructure in 45 schools in 20 districts.
These projects are impacting approximately 900,000 mothers and newborns who access maternity and newborn care at the health facilities and 43,000 children studying in the rehabilitated schools. An additional 200,000 community members are accessing primary health care services at the health facilities.
Tajikistan’s construction projects, including these two nationwide initiatives, are benefitting large populations of beneficiaries who will have access to higher quality education and health services. Beyond construction, UNICEF is a critical partner to Tajikistan at the strategy and policy level. UNICEF carried out the country’s first WASH review, which helped Tajikistan gain an understanding of the sector’s landscape and financing gap. UNICEF also supported the first ever investment case for WASH in health care facilities and initiated the development of the National Sanitation Strategy and national strategic plan on drinking water safety.
Improving access to quality education for over 300,000 children in conflict-stricken Yemen
The current conflict in Yemen is estimated to have set back progress in the country’s development by more than 20 years. The conflict has taken a grim toll on children’s access to education. An estimated two million children between 5 and 17 years old are out of school. Approximately 2,000 schools are no longer fit for purpose because they have been destroyed, damaged or are currently occupied.
Between 2019 and 2022, UNICEF led a large-scale construction project to rehabilitate classrooms in 113 schools and sanitation facilities in 443 schools across Yemen. The project included the construction of 15 semi-permanent classrooms. Across all schools, UNICEF included the installation of ramps and accessible latrines for children with disabilities.
The supported schools provide 315,170 children with access to quality learning environments and sanitation. UNICEF continues to support millions of dollars in impactful construction projects to help Yemen rebuild.
Read more about UNICEF’s transformable and scalable school construction methods.
Expanding vaccine coverage for over 2 million women and children in Madagascar
Immunization is one of the most effective public health interventions. It decreases preventable deaths and increases the likelihood of children and pregnant mothers to survive and live long, healthy lives. In Madagascar, efforts by the Ministry of Public Health as part of the Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI) have resulted in progress toward controlling measles, eradicating polio and eliminating tetanus. However, vaccine distribution remains highly inequitable throughout the country.
UNICEF is working in partnership with Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, and the World Bank to construct a new national EPI vaccine warehouse and office space in Antananarivo. The 1,800 m2 warehouse includes 1,200 m2 of dry storage space and capacity of 60 m3 for cold storage – a critical link in Madagascar’s vaccine supply cold chain.
The warehouse will receive all of Madagascar’s vaccine deliveries and serve the entire country through a network of regional warehouses. The project will improve access to and coverage of life-saving vaccines, enhance the management and governance of the vaccine supply chain, and strengthen EPI programmes at the health facility level.
The vaccine warehouse aims to improve vaccine coverage for nearly one million Malagasy children and 1.2 million pregnant women. It is scheduled for completion in January 2024.