How Your Dollars Turn Into Clean Water

March 18, 2014

In a world where 768 million people do not have access to clean water, the challenges may seem daunting. But with the help of a network of engaged supporters, UNICEF is on the ground empowering governments, communities and individuals to live better and more productive lives, starting with most basic building block of life: water.

With support from the UNICEF Tap Project, UNICEF uses your donations to create locally-led, sustainable solutions in some of the poorest and most remote towns and villages in the world.

One way UNICEF does this is by training local entrepreneurs and engineers on using manual drilling to create boreholes through which water can be drawn, much like a well. Another way is by promoting sanitation practices like increased handwashing, and discouraging open defecation.

As simple as it sounds, the combination of creating access to clean water along with good hygiene and sanitation practices can save the lives of the 1,400 children who die every day from causes directly related to poor water and sanitation.

Since the UNICEF Tap Project was launched in 2007 with Founding Agency Partner Droga5, it has funded work in Cameroon, Central African Republic, Mauritania, Togo and Vietnam.

In Togo, where the majority of schools and health centers do not have water and sanitation facilities, funding from the UNICEF Tap Project is supporting the construction and installation of boreholes, solar water pumps and ecologically-sound latrine facilities for schools and local health centers.

The UNICEF Tap Project is also supporting long-lasting behavioral change. In 2012, UNICEF helped the government of Togo organize an inter-school competition for students to build the best design for a handwashing device for their school. An astounding 52,150 students from 149 schools participated. Students produced handwashing facilities using local materials adapted from their living and learning environments.

Now that you know what UNICEF is doing to help, what will you do?

-Stephanie Adickman is a proposal writer in the U.S. Fund for UNICEF's Global Programs & Field Engagement team.

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