KABUL: The government of Finland has contributed two million euros ($2.4 million) to support UNICEF’s programme to provide Afghan children and families with safe water, sanitation and hygiene.
A statement from UNICEF said that the aid would help improve water and sanitation facilities in schools, having a positive impact on attendance, quality of learning and well-being of students, especially girls.
The flexible grant is part of Finland’s continued commitment to Afghanistan and follows a previous grant of similar size that provided gender-separated toilets, handwashing facilities and menstrual hygiene management that benefited almost 55,000 students in 102 school. The new funding will further reinforce this area of work and support deprived communities to reach open defecation-free status, access and use safely managed drinking water and to disseminate information on the importance of hygiene practices.
Ambassador of Finland to Afghanistan Hannu Ripatti said: “We are happy to continue supporting the UNICEF water, sanitation and hygiene programme that provides concrete results for women and children…”
Acknowledging Finland’s partnership and contribution, UNICEF representative in Afghanistan, Adele Khodr, highlighted the importance of clean water, sanitation and hygiene practices on health outcomes.
“Through encouraging hand washing with soap in schools and the use of clean water and sanitary environments, we can help to prevent diarrhea and the subsequent onset or worsening of stunting and malnutrition,” she said.
“Washing hands with soap can reduce diarrhea by up to 42 percent and is one of the most cost-effective ways to prevent (such) cases,” Khodr concluded.