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Water, Sanitation and Hygiene

About WASH

© UNICEF/UN013410/Sokhin
“When I grow up I want to be a pilot,” says 11 year old Wiliame, a student at Mualevu District school. Wiliame sits combing through damaged books in what is left of his school’s library – now roofless with scattered debris and a mountain of damaged library books – once treasures in this safe learning space. Like many children across Fiji, Wiliame’s school was damaged as a result of the devastating category 5 cyclone Winston that hit Fiji in 2016.


WASH is the collective term for Water, Sanitation and Hygiene. Due to their interdependent nature, these three core issues are grouped together to represent a growing sector. While each a separate field of work, each is dependent on the presence of the other. For example, without toilets, water sources become contaminated; without clean water, basic hygiene practices are not possible.


UNICEF’s work in water focuses on the ability for children to access safe water, the quality of the water they can access and the journey they must take to collect it. UNICEF is at the forefront of exploring innovative ways to access water, and building climate resistant infrastructure. More on water


For sanitation, UNICEF works to ensure access and use of basic toilets and ways to separate human waste from contact with people. One important area of work for sanitation is to end the practice of “open defecation,” and facilitate community-led initiatives to build, maintain and use basic toilets. More on sanitation


UNICEF’s work in hygiene is aimed at nurturing good hygiene practices, especially handwashing with soap. Although it sounds simple, this act is essential to prevent disease and the health of children. More on hygiene

All three areas in WASH support and strengthen one another. If one is missing, the others cannot progress.

Explore UNICEF’s work in emergencies and our programmes in schools: WASH in Schools and WASH in Emergencies



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