When we have an influence in India, we have an influence on the entire world
UNICEF works to promote the rights and improve the lives of children in 190 countries. India is one of the most populous countries where the majority of the population lives in primitive conditions in rural areas. People often have no access to clean drinking water and sanitation, and rates of child mortality are high. One in ten deaths in India are due to illnesses caused by poor hygiene.
Success in India is critical to the entire Millennium Development Goals programme. For example, 60 per cent of people who live without toilets are in India. So when we have an influence in India, we have an influence on the entire world.
Several parties have addressed the lack of sanitation in India. Significant progress has been made by the government’s Clean India campaign, which began in October 2014, as well as the Midday Meal Scheme, which teaches children to wash their hands with soap before eating their school lunch. The goal of the Clean India campaign is to get a toilet installed in every school and home by 2019. This means that approximately 60 million toilets must be built in only five years. The goal is challenging but good things have already come of it: the government is granting a lump sum to households for the purpose of building toilets and has promised money for schools to maintain facilities and equipment.
The government’s new policy is manifested by its interest in the WASH project. The outcomes of the WASH programme have already been used in the guidance provided by the Midday Meal and Clean India projects to improve national sanitation and drinking water. The State of Rajasthan is investigating whether the WASH programme could be scaled to all of the schools in the state. UNICEF’s long-term work with children is highly respected.
Pictures ©UNICEF/India 2015/Haru