UNICEF and Procter & Gamble join efforts to improve water and sanitation facilities in primary schools
Ha Noi, 4 October 2010 - UNICEF and global consumer product provider Procter & Gamble (P&G) have joined forces to provide water and sanitation facilities in primary schools in Viet Nam and educate children, parents and teachers about hygienic practices. Schools in areas most in need are being selected in Dien Bien, Ninh Thuan, An Giang and Dong Thap provinces. With this project, UNICEF and P&G are contributing to the Education Millennium Development Goal and to the National Target to have sanitation facilities in 100 per cent of schools in Viet Nam. The joint UNICEF-P&G project will run till the end of 2011 and the total investment from P&G is 200,000 US$.
“Children spend long hours at school. Schools therefore play an important role in protecting children and their families from disease and illness due to poor water and sanitation. Through the development of hygiene-related life skills, and involving parents, children and teachers to work together on improving conditions in schools, children’s school performance improves”, says Lotta Sylwander, UNICEF Viet Nam Representative.
“P&G has the purpose to reach and improve consumers’ lives. This is strongly demonstrated through our programme “For a Bright Future”. In the last three years, P&G has contributed to building more than 30 sanitation facilities for schools. More than 12,000 children across the country have benefitted from the programme and we are pleased that more will be reached through this partnership with UNICEF”, says Omar Channawi, P&G Country Manager.
A recent survey showed that 20 per cent of schools in Viet Nam have no water source. The proportion is lowest among secondary schools (four per cent) and highest among pre-schools (34 per cent). In addition, while 73 per cent of schools have latrines, only 12 per cent of rural schools have hygienic latrines meeting Ministry of Health standards .
In schools with facilities, many are not used because they are either dirty or insufficient for boys and girls to use, or poorly maintained. The situation is even worse in remote, mountainous and disadvantaged areas where ethnic minorities live.
Lack of clean and safe water and sanitation facilities and poor hygiene practices at school have negative impacts on child health and education outcomes. Diarrhea and worm diseases hinder the children to grow, to go to school and to retain and perform well at school.
Improving sanitation facilities and practises in primary schools is an integral part of UNICEF’s Provincial Child-Friendly Program. With the support from Procter and Gamble to the programme, more children will be able to fulfil their rights of access to safe water and sanitation and have the best possible start in life. The “For the Brighter Future” program in Vietnam is part of P&G’s “Live, Learn and Thrive” global corporate cause that focuses the philanthropic efforts of P&G’s brands, employees and corporate foundation on improving life for children in need, from infancy till the age of 13 years.
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