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In Brobo Village in the Cote d'Ivoire, Suzanne and Claudia, age 13 and 11 respectively, are eager to show their homework to their teachers. The routine of going to school, however, is a recent development. In the past, the girls woke up at four in the morning to get to the nearest water pump (3 miles away) and return home by 7 a.m. During droughts, fetching water could take a whole day—the only alternative was the nearest pond, often the cause of severe health problems.
"We know that drinking water from a pond and cooking with it often makes people sick," says Suzanne. "But sometimes we just have no choice… If there is nothing else than water coming from ponds, we'd rather get sick than die from thirst."
UNICEF has supported installation of two new water pumps in Brobo—including one at the school compound that allows 1,200 pupils to drink potable water.
"The clear water we get at school tastes so much better than the muddy water we used to get at the pond," Claudia mentions. "And now, since we don't have to walk as far as before to fetch water, I finally get to go to school every day," she says.
More than eight million people in the Cote d'Ivoire lack appropriate sanitation facilities, and over four million people still use unsafe drinking water sources. UNICEF repaired around 2,330 village pumps in 2006 and 2007. In addition, more than 1,833 water–management village committees were reactivated in 2007. UNICEF also improved the water supply in two hospitals and five health centers while an additional 27 health centers are currently undergoing rehabilitation.
In Nicaragua, growing environmental degradation and poor hygiene practices exacerbate poverty, diseases and vulnerability to disasters. A third of the population has no access to sustainable sources of drinking water and while it is reported that more than 75 percent of the country’s rural population has access to sanitation facilities, latrine use is low. However, for those living in the northern and southern Atlantic regions of the country, they are far below the national averages, with only 18 percent having access to water and 20 percent having access to sanitation.
Thanks to the support of Tap Project donors like you, UNICEF is working to overcome these challenges in these regions by implementing culturally–sensitive tactics for the promotion of hygiene and environmental sanitation in communities and schools. These programs aim to reach 1,400 people by giving them access to safe sanitation facilities in their households.
In addition, local communications campaigns will stress the importance of a healthy home environment and will seek to increase the knowledge and adoption of proper household hygiene and sanitation. Likewise, the program will provide 400 school children with access to safe water and sanitation facilities in their school. This will coincide with the teaching of healthy hygiene habits by teachers and will be reinforced through promotional materials made available through this program.