For every 1 euro invested, 4,30 euros are generated in economic returns through increased productivity. And this investment goes directly to the benefit of children. This is just one amazing fact of the WASH program – the water, sanitation and hygiene work we support in India through UNICEF Finland.

The UNICEF WASH program aims to guarantee equitable access and use of sustainable, safe, and affordable water, sanitation, and hygiene services. Last year alone, 10 million more people gained access to basic sanitation, 28 million families gained access to household tap water, 132 million people were reached through the media and 1,14 million directly with the initiatives that promoted the importance of handwashing with soap.

Despite the progress, efforts are still needed: 65% of rural households lack access to safely managed drinking water, and 35% of rural households do not have access to basic sanitation facilities in their homes. 32% of government-run daycare centres do not have adequate toilet facilities and 23% of schools have unusable toilets. We must continue the good work to make the WASH services accessible to all and ensure that no one is left behind.

Here are some happy faces along the way.

9-yead-old Kanchan at handwash station at Primary School in Kondagaon, Chattisgarh.
© UNICEF/UN0516987/Panjwani
Junith Ekka, 6 years old, washes hands as 33 years old Elina Ekka an Aanganwadi worker showcases hand wash techniques during a session at Charsabari Aanganwadi centre in Khowang, Assam. ©UNICEF/UN0491168/Vishwanathan
Adolescent girls play outside breaking the taboo of not playing during menstruation in Bazaar Kalika in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh. © UNICEF/UN0591961/ Bhardwaj
Sajiya Khan drinks water in the Government Middle School in Tillor Kurd, Indore District, MP.
© UNICEF/UN0653189/Katragadda
Guaranteeing the safe access to water in Panjwani.  © UNICEF/UN0517029/Panjwani
Jamila Khan at an anganwadi meeting with woman from Tillor Khurd and ASHA and Water Quality Testing groups to discuss water testing with Field Test Kit  procedure with in Tillor Kurd, Indore District, MP. © UNICEF/UN0653233/Katragadda

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