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Back to news listing 15th April, 2012

Dubai Cares workshop highlights importance of integrating Water, Sanitation and Hygiene into primary education programs in developing countries

Over 443 million school days missed by children every year due to consumption of contaminated water; experts from Germany, Indonesia, Mali, Pakistan, Philippines, Sierra Leone and United States discuss sustainable program interventions

Dubai Cares recently hosted a technical workshop, as part of its role as an advocate and convener on key themes in primary education. Held in Dubai, the workshop aimed to promote the growing importance of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH)-in-Schools and to discuss and share between partners key learning outcomes from Dubai Cares programs in Indonesia, Mali and Sierra Leone. The workshop was attended by senior officials from several foreign governments, implementers, WASH-in-School experts and academics from Indonesia, Mali and Sierra Leone as well as representatives from Germany, Pakistan, Philippines and the United States.

Founded in 2007 by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, Dubai Cares made a strategic decision in 2010 to champion WASH-in-Schools programs and strongly advocate for these programs globally. Dubai Cares currently has WASH-in-Schools programs in Indonesia, Mali and Sierra Leone.

Tariq Al Gurg, Chief Executive Officer of Dubai Cares, said: “WASH-in-Schools programs have definitely gained traction over the years but with children across the world still suffering from water-borne diseases, which in some cases lead to their death, the need for more effective program interventions has never been more important.”

He added: “This workshop shows our commitment to identifying and implementing alternative and innovative ways to enhance the impact of our programs, in this case our WASH-in-Schools programs.  Through dialogue with our partners and experts in the field, we are also equipping ourselves with the knowledge we need to not only widen the scope and extent of our existing programs but also to implement similar sustainable and scalable WASH-in-Schools programs in other countries.”

Bonaventure Maiga, Technical Advisor of the Minister of Education, Ministry of Education, Mali, said: “The members of the delegation from Mali greatly appreciate the experiences shared by the delegations of Indonesia, Sierra Leone and the Philippines. One of the key lessons learned from the workshop was targeting a few simple, cost-effective interventions that do not significantly increase the workload of teachers, including the repeated practice of washing hands with soap everyday in schools and strengthening the management of the cleanliness of public areas - especially latrines. Another key lesson was the need to strengthen the monitoring of hygiene in schools with specific indicators related to hygiene practices and cleanliness of schools that must be reflected in the internal regulation of each school, in national education statistics and in the monitoring framework of regional and district directors of education and pedagogy. The government will play its part in the practical application of these principles.”

James Katta, Ministry of Health and Sanitation, Sierra Leone, said: “This meeting recognized and highlighted the key strategies and implementation of WASH-in-Schools in Sierra Leone as simple, sustainable and scalable interventions. We learned key and critical elements from each presentation, which we are ready to adopt for scaling up WASH-in-Schools programs in the country context. Thanks to the Dubai Cares meeting, other countries could now also adopt and implement the strategies of Sierra Leone.”

Murat Shahin, Advisor, WASH-in-Schools, UNICEF: “Thanks to Dubai Cares for financing WASH-in-Schools programs and bringing together development partners and government counterparts together in Dubai. The workshop provided an opportunity to learn and build on our WASH-in-Schools experiences in Sierra Leone, Indonesia and Mali. The participants recognized the fact that our experience with the Dubai Cares-funded programs is applicable and useful for other developing countries.  At the global level, we will continue advocating for universal WASH-in-Schools coverage so that all children have an opportunity to practice good hygiene in order to get the best out of their education and to reach their full potential.”

Limited access to clean drinking water has significant impact on millions of children. Over 443 million school days are missed every year because children become ill from the water they drink. 

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