Dubai Cares launches hygiene drives in Africa
Dubai, July 14, 2010
Dubai Cares, the UAE-based philanthropic institution, has launched hygiene programmes in the West African countries of Mali and Sierra Leone, aiming to improve children’s access to quality primary education.
The Wash-in-Schools programme, launched along with Dubai Cares’ international NGO partners, will feature water and sanitation facilities and hygiene education programmes to directly benefit over 1.7 million children in both countries, a statement said.
The access to clean drinking water and adequate sanitation facilities is an essential component to increasing school enrolment rates, decreasing pupil absenteeism and promoting children’s overall health while also encouraging girls’ attendance, it added.
“Dubai Cares has allocated $18 million dollars to better access and improve quality of education in Mali and Sierra Leone,” said Tariq Al Gurg, CEO of Dubai Cares.
In Mali, 55 per cent of schools do not have a water point and 54 per cent do not have adequate sanitation facilities, according to national statistics.
The lack of access to safe water and appropriate sanitation at schools, increase the incidences of water-born related diseases, which further negatively affect a child’s ability to attend and excel in school.
Dubai Cares’ intervention will include a multi-partner, four-year integrated Wash-in-Schools programme to be implemented by Unicef, Save the Children, CARE, Oxfam GB and WaterAid.
This wide ranging intervention will cover 726 schools in a number of regions across Mali.
The programme will provide basic low-cost water and sanitation infrastructure to ensure a healthy and adequate learning environment. It will also focus on hygiene promotion in both the school and the community to ensure behavior change over the long term.
In Sierra Leone, only 39 per cent of the population has access to improved sanitation while only 57 per cent has access to an improved water source, according to Unicef.
Only one in three adults are able to read and write and 300,000 children are out of school. Poor sanitation facilities and shortage of clean water are one of the key factors affecting school attendance, particularly for girls.
The Wash-in-Schools programmes will provide wash facilities, peer education on healthy water and sanitation practices, as well as, on the community level, implement school and community-led total sanitation approaches to ensure the reach and sustainability of healthy sanitation, the statement said.
The programme will employ participatory learning techniques to allow school children to adopt positive hygiene practices. Essential school sanitation hygiene and education (SSHE) materials will be distributed across all 5,000 primary schools in Sierra Leone.
Dubai Cares is founded by Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, and Ruler of Dubai. – TradeArabia News Service