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.
Marthe lives in Ramadja, in the Logone Oriental region. This mother of 3 children, lives in of the country’s districts with the lowest access to water and sanitation services. Change is possible. In 2016, UNICEF has supported various programmes to provide safe drinking water, sanitation facilities and promote hygiene for the survival, growth and development of young 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,” Marthe said. “With those new water points which are close to our home, many of our problems were solved. Girls can go to school on time and women have more time to care for their children,” she added.
Amina is Marthe’s neighbor. The new water point in the village has changed the life of the 16-year-old girl “ I used to compare the water of the traditional well with the recently installed pump. The difference is striking,” she said smiling. “Since we have been drinking the new water, none of my 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, children in rural areas are almost always at risk from these water and sanitation-related diseases. According to the latest studies, close to 16,000 children under 5 die each year of diarrhea, and these deaths are largely caused by contaminated water, lack of access to proper sanitation and poor hygiene practices.
In 2016, UNICEF and its partners developed various projects in most prior regions 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) piloted in hundreds of villages.
Thanks to the generous contributions of its donors, UNICEF and partners 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. We will continue our work in 2017 and beyond, reaching the most vulnerable children making progress towards achieving universal access to water for every child.