During the month of January, the Dubai Cares team conducted a monitoring, evaluation and learning visit to its program in Mali. Ever since the launch of the Wash-in-Schools Program in 2010, Dubai Cares has been championing the cause of WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) in schools to programs which enable children to practice good hygiene, and thereby gain maximum benefit from their education, is a logical progression for our work.
When there is neither clean water nor latrines in school, children’s chances for healthy development and personal fulfillment are radically reduced. They are vulnerable to diseases that lead to absenteeism. Girls especially are disadvantaged when there are inadequate toilet facilities; at the onset of puberty many drop out never to return. Where there is no clean water source nearby, many hours are spent on the onerous task of carrying water from a distant well, hours which are lost forever from a child’s education.
For all these reasons, Dubai Cares is targeting its interventions at countries such as Mali, facilitating programs that promote effective hygiene practices in schools and their communities, reduce the spread of disease, improve enrollment, attendance and academic achievement, and encourage gender equality.
In Mali, the level of need is high (55 per cent of schools are without a water point, and 44 per cent have no latrines, according to the Ministry of Education statistics). The scope of Dubai Cares’ innovative support, aiming to reach 300,000 school students and 6,000 teachers, is thus especially important here.
Through this support, five international organizations are linked in a unique initiative, which has created the opportunity for CARE, Oxfam, Save the Children, UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund) and WaterAid to work together in an unprecedented way.