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Water, Sanitation and Hygiene

What UNICEF does best in water and sanitation

© UNICEF/HQ94-1168/Pirozzi
Women fabricating latrine slabs in Mpigi district, Uganda through a UNICEF-supported sanitation initiative.

Over its 40 year history in water, sanitation and hygiene programming UNICEF has made an impact in many ways.

UNICEF has often been the first one on the ground bringing water and sanitation in emergencies. Safe water and sanitation facilities have often been the difference between recovery and catastrophe.

In planning, constructing and maintaining water and sanitation  services, UNICEF has built close partnerships with women’s groups, youth groups, community-based organizations , non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and local and national governments. Recognizing that women are the experts on what kind of facilities will best serve them and their families, UNICEF advocates for the empowerment of women as equal partners in families and communities.

Providing water, separate and private sanitation facilities and hygienic environments is opening school doors for girls, who are often kept away by the indignity of having no privacy.  In addition, UNICEF’s commitment to securing household water and sanitation has freed girls from the long hours spent fetching water, allowing them to take their rightful place in the classroom.

UNICEF’s commitment to securing household water and sanitation has freed girls from the long hours spent fetching water.

With a finger on the pulse of the community, UNICEF is able to work towards capacity building by linking all important stakeholders to water and sanitation  projects. UNICEF fosters community ownership by honouring the expertise of the local population. There is a far greater chance of long-time sustainability of  water and sanitation services when the people are behind the design, implementation and maintenance of projects.

UNICEF works with partners globally, nationally and locally to promote hygiene and to help ensure safe water sources and sanitation facilities are available to families, schools and communities.  Without access to these essentials, all other efforts to end poverty will fail.



Real lives

Read more about the impact of water and sanitation programmes in countries where UNICEF works:

Real Lives

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