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Congo: 4000 children mobilize to promote personal and environmental hygiene

Brazzaville, Congo, 17 October 2008 – Promotion of hygiene and environmental awareness in twenty schools in the Republic of Congo are the two key objectives of a project launched today. Supported by UNICEF and implemented by the Association of Scouts and Guides of Congo, this project aims to sensitize and educate children and youth. School children, and the Scouts and Guides of Congo will encourage communities to collect trash, use sanitary latrines and maintain them, wash their hands regularly, and maintain a healthy environment by planting trees in schools. By learning by doing, children will promote a healthy environment.

The launch was part of the celebration of the first Global Hand Washing Day in Congo. The Government, in partnership with UNICEF and the Scouts and Guides of Congo, is committed to promote hygiene and sanitation and environmental awareness amongst primary school children as part of a wider promotion of sustainable development and conservation.

"I appeal to school and municipal authorities to support students in conserving the environment. Indeed, it would be ironic that the garbage collected by the children would end up being emptied in the river.” Said Dr Koen Vanormelingen, UNICEF representative in Congo Brazzaville.
Combined with education activities hygiene, hand washing is one of the most effective preventive health interventions. Research shows that this practice reduces the risk of diarrhea, dysentery and cholera by 50 per cent. Less known is the fact that hands washing reduces by 25% the risk of pneumonia, the second cause of death among children under five.

"In addition to provide access to safe water in schools ... (We need) gender specific latrines in sufficient numbers” stressed Madame Rosalie Kama Niamayoua, Minister of primary and secondary education,

"The 600 000 Congolese primary school children can be a lever for change in our society. It is through these children we will promote critical values and behaviors, but also through these children will we achieve a new Congo", stressed Madame Emilienne Raoul, Minister of Health, Social Affairs and Family.

Educating children to respect the environment and health will have an impact not only on health but also help to make children responsible citizens concerned about the future of their country and the world.

For additional information, please contact:
Hector Calderon, + 242 578 24 27,



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