Access to clean water helps children to go back to school
UNICEF supports more than half of the population of Sana’a with urban water interventions in cholera-affected areas, through the installation and rehabilitation of water systems and provision of fuel to local water corporations.
Sana’a, Yemen, 7 January 2019 – In Yemen where 16 million people are in urgent need of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) assistance, access to clean water remains crucial. UNICEF, together with the national Ministry of Water and Environment and its local partners, pursues its efforts to make sure that children living in high-risk cholera areas can benefit from safe drinking water.
UNICEF strives to find innovative solutions to provide the population of Yemen with a cross-sectorial humanitarian assistance, for instance, making the link between access to water and education.
One of UNICEF’s key activities in the country is the rehabilitation and restoration of basic water and sanitation services in urban areas such as Sana’a city and Al Hudaydah, and especially near schools, thus encouraging children to go back to school.
Following this approach, UNICEF launched this year its first all-one WASH project in Al-Frusiah neighborhood of Sana’a. As Adel Maodah, the project manager and engineer describes: “We faced some challenges at the beginning in terms of lack of materials available and the import ban, but we overcame these with everyone’s cooperation. Today, the project consists of a 30-kilometer long water network, a main reservoir of 18-meter height with a capacity of 100 cubic meters, a generator and an integrated pumping unit.”
During the launching ceremony, UNICEF Representative in Yemen Merixtell Relano welcomed this new project: “Al-Frusiah is the first project in Sana’a city that is focusing on the expansion of existing water pipe networks. Before, children and their families didn’t have safe drinking water at home and now, thanks to this project, 45,000 people will benefit from access to clean water in an area that was heavily affected by cholera last year.”
For a fee of 15,000 Yemeni Rials (approximately 30 USD), the inhabitants can benefit from a new water meter installed in their houses. This seems like a significant amount of money, but it represents much less than what the people of Al-Frusiah were paying in the past for water trucking. “This is a very important community project. More than 600 household water meters have been installed,” explains Mohammed Mohammed, UNICEF’s WASH Specialist from the Field Office in Sana’a.
“We are working closely with the local authorities and the communities to build a sense of ownership so the people can maintain the water system in the future,” stresses Mohammed.
UNICEF carries out social mobilisation and outreach activities to explain to the community about the project and encourage them to participate in the operational maintenance and management of the water system.
From the schoolyard, it is possible to see the water tank installed beside the school, which connects the household water meters. The next part of the project will be the rehabilitation of the school latrines so that students can have access to clean water and sanitation during the class. This will considerably improve the conditions of the school, which still lacks basic school furniture and materials.
UNICEF supports more than half of the population of Sana’a with urban water interventions in cholera-affected areas, through the installation and rehabilitation of water systems and provision of fuel to local water corporations. This ensures a continuous provision of water across the governorate.
From January to November 2018, UNICEF reached almost 5 million people with access to drinking water with the support of various partners, including the German Development Bank KfW.