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[Published: Friday August 21 2009]


Global experts discuss safe water

With access to water becoming more challenging every year due to rising demand and unreliable supplies, global experts have met
in Stockholm in a United Nations-backed forum aimed at tackling the 
adverse impact on poverty, health, education, gender equality and the 
The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has highlighted successful strategies it 
has introduced in a world where almost one billion people lack access to safe 
These include its “WASH in Schools” programme, founded on the belief that access to water and sanitation in the classroom is a prerequisite for basic education.

The programme has spread from 22 countries in 2002 to 88 countries last year. 
“Without access to WASH in school facilities, children will not continue to 
attend, and they will be hampered in terms of their education outcomes,” says 
UNICEF WASH in Schools adviser Murat Sahin. 
Currently, only 27 countries have a national action plan for child-friendly water sanitation facilities.


UNICEF has also identified 60 countries as priorities for the implementation of the WASH in Schools programme by the year 2015. 
In Bangladesh, providing sanitary latrines in schools has helped boost girls’ 
enrolment by 11 per cent. Studies in India show a resulting improvement in 
academic performance of up to 25 per cent. 
“The children who get the messages reach out to peers, they reach out to 
siblings in the household and also to the community with the message of the 
importance of hygiene practices, as well as know-how of the importance of 
sanitation and water supply technologies,” Mr. Sahin says. 

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