Afghanistan: UNICEF and Red Cross hygiene promotion activities

Since 2001, Afghanistan has seen tremendous progress, including increased access to safe water in schools, targeted sanitation training, additional community water facilities and the adoption of a new national policy on hygiene. However, more remote areas of the country still face roadblocks to access by aid organizations.

UNICEF has set up a partnership with the Afghan Government to develop sustainable, community-based solutions. Schools and health centres are key entry points. Providing water points and gender-specific latrines results in better health for all, as well as increasing the enrolment of young girls in primary schools.

[…] UNICEF supports women’s literacy initiatives, specifically targeting internally displaced persons and returnees. And UNICEF-sponsored ‘Behaviour Change Committees’ teach populations about safe water, sanitation and hygiene practices.

Another UNICEF-sponsored project in Afghanistan, the ‘Healthy School Initiative’, aims not only to improve the learning environment for children but also to teach them valuable lessons they can share with their families at home. Students are taught the correct way to brush their teeth and wash their hands with soap and water, as well as basic first-aid training.

In the schools, the initiative provides students with drinking water and latrines, de-worming tablets and safe play areas where they can interact with their peers without fear of encountering a landmine.

Source: David Koch, UNICEF, 12 Mar 2009

At a press conference on 24 March 2009, Adrian Edwards, Senior Spokesman of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), reported that in 2009 “UNICEF is aiming to select a village in each province of Afghanistan to showcase how a community can help ensure everyone adopts clean sanitation and hygiene practices”.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) reports that its water engineers are working closely with the local water authorities on a range of urban and rural programmes. Hygiene promotion sessions are conducted in madrasas, hammams (bath houses) and other public places, as well as with families in their homes. [In March 2009] the ICRC water and habitat teams carried out:

  • an urban project to supply water to 12,000 people in Heart;
  • hygiene sessions for over 2,571 people from vulnerable communities in urban areas of Herat, Kabul, Jalalabad, Kandahar and Mazar;
  • improvements to the water supply and sanitation systems in one district and two provincial prisons. A total of 648 detainees will benefit from these programmes;
  • six rural water supply projects in villages in Bamyan, Herat and Mazar provinces to provide safe water for 22,063 beneficiaries
  • some of the planned rehabilitation of Mirwais hospital infrastructure in Kandahar.

Source: ICRC, 16 Apr 2009

One response to “Afghanistan: UNICEF and Red Cross hygiene promotion activities

  1. Sanitation and hygiene are the key for public health.

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