N’Djamena, February 27, 2017. Water is the source of life for all humans and the source of hope for millions of children in Chad. Yet, in this Sahel country, only half of the population has access to safe drinking water.
Fatimé Abderamane, a mother of 3 children, lives in the village Koubou Assikhel, in the district of Yao, Central Chad. This district has one of the lowest rates of access to water and sanitation services. However, despite the challenges, change is possible. In 2016, UNICEF supported various programmes to provide safe drinking water, sanitation facilities and promote hygiene for the survival, growth and development of children.
“Before the construction of water points, we used to walk for three hours to get water from the pastoral well. And we had to wait for hours, the time the farmers end up watering their herd. The quality of this water was not really good and my children got frequently sick and faced frequent diarrhea,” Fatime said. “With those new water points which are close to our home, many of our problems have been solved. Girls can go to school on time and women have more time to care for their children,” she adds.
Marthe lives in Ramadja, a nearby village. The new water point in the village has changed the life of this 16-year-old girl. “Sometimes I tend to compare the water of the traditional well with the recently installed pump. The difference is striking,” she explains smiling. “Since we started to drink the new water, none of us has been sick at home. It’s a great change in our daily lives,“ she adds.
Chad has one of the lowest rates of access to safe drinking water and sanitation services in the world. While access to safe water and sanitation is improving in urban areas, far too many children in rural areas are at risk of contracting water and sanitation-related diseases.
In 2016, UNICEF and its partners targeted regions in need of greater support and developed various projects to reduce the prevalence of diarrheal diseases by improving access to safe drinking water and improved sanitation, together with awareness raising on hygiene.
Water points have already been constructed across the country and the Community-led Total sanitation (CLTS), which was piloted in hundreds of villages. CLTS shifts the focus from construction of toilets and trying to change the behaviour of individuals to investing in community mobilization to trigger collective action and communal commitment to becoming open defecation free.
Thanks to the generous contributions of its donors, UNICEF and partners have focused on delivering continued programming interventions while building capacity at the local level to reach the most vulnerable population in need of WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) services. For every child #WaterSanitationHygiene.