Improving children’s lives in India with UNICEF
Together with UNICEF, we have been improving hygiene practices and access to safe water and sanitation services of the less well-off children and their families since 2007.
India has the biggest child population in the world with 1,3 billion people and over 30% children. Every year 117 000 under 5-year-old children die of diarrhoea, 40% of which could have been avoided by proper handwashing with soap. Only 69% of schools have safe drinking water, 78% of schools have adequate toilets and 54% of schools have hand-washing facilities with water and soap.
We first supported the improvement of water and sanitation services in schools of Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, and Rajasthan in 2007-2017. In those projects nearly a million children received clean water and better hygiene in about 4,000 schools and preschools. The results exceeded all targets.
“The results of the work were excellent. This inspired local government to increase their own investment in the work and local businesses to invest in the project. This is an excellent example of how we can achieve more than we originally planned by cooperating with different actors, ”says Marja-Riitta Ketola, Secretary General of UNICEF Finland.
For the past three years, Lindström has supported UNICEF’s water sanitation and hygiene work throughout India. Last year, 420,000 people received clean drinking water through the program.
“We are very proud of our long partnership with UNICEF and impressed by the great results they have achieved through their programs”, says Juha Laurio, the CEO of Lindström.
UNICEF trains women as toilet builders
In many parts of India, during their menstruation girls cannot meet their friends, sleep in bed, go to school, or prepare food. To help, they came up with toilet building courses for women.
Now 55,000 women have been trained as toilet builders. Most of these women belong to remote communities. Now they are paid by building toilets and can secure the livelihoods of their families. With their new financial freedom, they support better the next generation of girls. Some educated women also act as communicators for menstrual hygiene and help dispel myths related to menstruation.
Photos © UNICEF India