5 Ways UNICEF Improves Access to Clean Water

March 20, 2014

By

Jennifer Yeboah

This month, the UNICEF Tap Project is challenging you to put down your phone to help provide water to a child in need.

You might be wondering, how exactly does UNICEF help? Since 1990, UNICEF has helped more than 2 billion people gain access to clean water, hygiene and sanitation. Here’s how.

Children line up to wash their hands before their midday meal at a school in Rajasthan, India. © UNICEF/INDA2013-00426/Manpreet Romana Children line up to wash their hands before their midday meal at a school in Rajasthan, India. © UNICEF/INDA2013-00426/Manpreet Romana

1. Promoting good hygiene in schools and communities.

By promoting simple behaviors like handwashing, UNICEF helps protect children from life-threatening diseases like diarrhea, which are often directly related to unsafe water and poor sanitation.

Children play at a water point installed by UNICEF outside Juba, South Sudan. © UNICEF/NYHQ2012-1419/Brian Sokol Children play at a water point installed by UNICEF outside Juba, South Sudan. © UNICEF/NYHQ2012-1419/Brian Sokol

2. Installing community water access points.

UNICEF has helped build thousands of water facilities and rehabilitate community wells. Access to clean drinking water can help revitalize communities in many ways, from decreasing child mortality rates to freeing up women and girls from fetching water to ensuring healthy livestock.

Families affected by Typhoon Bopha receive hygiene kits in the flood-ravaged town of New Bataan, Philippines. © UNICEF/NYHQ2012-1706/Josh Estey Families affected by Typhoon Bopha receive hygiene kits in the flood-ravaged town of New Bataan, Philippines. © UNICEF/NYHQ2012-1706/Josh Estey

3. Restoring access to clean water during emergencies.

The risk of contracting diseases from unsafe water is extremely high during an emergency when water systems may be damaged or insecure. UNICEF helped restore access to clean water in Tacloban, Philippines, after the devastating typhoon and for 10 million people in Syria. UNICEF also provides hygiene kits in these high-risk situations. See what's inside the blue bucket.

Children stand outside portable toilets in the Astrodome evacuation center in Tacloban, Philippines, among the areas worst affected by Typhoon Haiyan. © UNICEF/NYHQ2013-1219/Jeoffrey Maitem Children stand outside portable toilets in the Astrodome evacuation center in Tacloban, Philippines, among the areas worst affected by Typhoon Haiyan. © UNICEF/NYHQ2013-1219/Jeoffrey Maitem

4. Providing sanitation facilities to support hygienic living conditions.

Access to adequate sanitation facilities is vital to preventing needless suffering and death. UNICEF actively promotes the elimination of open defection.

5. Helping kids help their communities.

Access to clean water and decent sanitation facilities keeps kids -- especially girls -- in school, and keeps them focused too. UNICEF works to improve water and sanitation facilities in schools so that children themselves are agents of change in their homes and communities. Help children around the world gain access to clean water

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