Dubai: Dubai Cares, part of Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives, has partnered with Water & Sanitation for the Urban Poor (WSUP) to improve access to water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) facilities in schools in two of Madagascar’s largest cities, Antananarivo and Mahajanga.
As one of Africa’s poorest countries and with one of the world’s highest rates of extreme poverty, according to the World Bank, Madagascar faces a serious challenge in providing sustainable and affordable WASH services to communities.
of schools in Madagascar lack latrines
Around 40 per cent of schools in Madagascar lack latrines, and this absence of facilities can have a direct impact on poor school attendance. In addition, poor facilities mean that young girls find it difficult to manage their hygiene needs, and are discouraged from school attendance.
The three-year Dubai Cares programme, which represents an investment of over Dh3.8 million will benefit 14,250 children and 33,750 community members.
The new programme aims to construct and rehabilitate WASH facilities in school and health centres to ensure availability of services in 30 schools, including 21 primary and nine secondary schools.
The facilities will meet the minimum quality requirements set by the Ministry of Education in Madagascar. The programme also aims to ensure that these facilities are run and maintained under a financially sustainable management model by facilitating the establishment of a School WASH Committee in each school.
Abdullah Ahmad Al Shehhi, COO at Dubai Cares, said: “Our new programme will be implemented in Antananarivo and Mahajanga, where the consequences of poor WASH infrastructure have been devastating for families. Diarrheal as well as cholera diseases are the leading causes of death of children under five, and adequate access to WASH facilities can prevent a significant proportion of such diseases. The long-lasting benefits of our latest WASH programme will not only provide much-needed WASH facilities across schools, but will also educate communities on how they can enhance their standards of hygiene to prevent illnesses.”
Sylvie Ramanantsoa, country programme manager at WSUP Madagascar, said: “Inadequate water, sanitation and hygiene facilities in schools and local communities can make children too ill to attend classes, or encourage them to drop out of school altogether. This new partnership with Dubai Cares will help WSUP to improve health and educational outcomes for children, by improving facilities and practices in schools and communities, supporting policy change and conducting research to identify best practices.”