Dubai Cares, the UAE-based philanthropic establishment launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Prime Minister and Vice-President and Ruler of Dubai to provide children in developing countries with access to primary education, hosted the launch of the global advocacy campaign, “Call to Action for WASH in Schools” at the seventh Dubai International Humanitarian Aid & Development Conference and Exhibition (DIHAD) 2010 today.
According to a survey conducted by UNICEF in select developing countries, less than 50% of primary schools have access to safe drinking water and just over a third have adequate sanitation facilities. “Call to Action for WASH in Schools” campaign by UNICEF and its partners, aims at providing safe drinking water, improving sanitation facilities and promoting lifelong health for children in schools.
Tariq Al Gurg, CEO of Dubai Cares said, “Health and Education are the birth rights of every child. As such, every child deserves to have access to a child-friendly school with appropriate WASH in Schools facilities, complemented by effective hygiene education. Dubai Cares’ support of the “Call to Action for WASH in Schools” campaign depicts our on-going commitment to highlighting the vital link between providing WASH facilities in schools and the enhanced access to education.”
“Dubai Cares ensures the integration and prioritization of water, sanitation and hygiene into our various educational programs designed to increase children’s access to quality primary education. In 2009, Dubai Cares organized the “Thirst for Education” Ramadan campaign and a 3-km “Water Bucket Walk” to raise funds for providing children in developing countries with access to clean drinking water, one of the main underlying issues that prevent millions of children from accessing education”, added Al Gurg.
Poor water and sanitation and lack of hygiene are known to be major causes of death among children under the age of five. While the mortality rate among school-aged children is lower, WASH-related illnesses impede physical growth and cognitive learning.
“Current and future generations should grow up with safe water, good sanitation and improved hygiene in their schools and communities. It is important for us all to work together, Government Ministries, Donors, Development agencies, NGO’s, Media, School authorities, students and parents to ensure that children can learn, grow and thrive in a healthy school environment as our children deserve nothing less”, said Therese Dooley, Senior Adviser, UNICEF.
A publication titled “Raising Clean Hands: Advancing Learning, Health and Participation through WASH in Schools” created by the global WASH in Schools partnership, was launched to assist national, regional and international development institutions in their efforts to advocate for WASH in schools.
The “Call to Action for WASH in Schools” is the result of collaboration between CARE, Dubai Cares, Emory University Center for Global Safe Water, IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre, Save the Children, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Water Advocates, Water Aid, Water For People and the World Health Organization (WHO). It is a global advocacy campaign that calls on decision-makers to increase investments, plan and act in cooperation to ensure that all children go to a school with safe drinking water, proper sanitation and hygiene facilities.
This partnership, as well as other initiatives for Dubai Cares are discussed at regular meetings of the Board of Directors, including the most recent meeting which was held on March 30th, 2010.