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UNICEF and the Government of United Kingdom Wednesday announced a new partnership to support the Governments of Fiji and Kiribati to provide improved access to water, sanitation and hygiene in local health facilities and communities to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
This continues the strong partnership the UK has with UNICEF in the Pacific to improving the lives of all children living in the region.
“The United Kingdom is a strong supporter of the multilateral system and that means core funding to the UN agencies and we have a long and detailed partnership in UNICEF right across the globe. It’s great to be talking about WASH because as we move to a different stage of the pandemic we have to look at root causes and we know that good hygiene is one of the key tools that we have to help combat the pandemic. And it’s great to hear that these supplies will be in 12 markets and 32 schools – that is something that makes my heart sing and I would really like to recognise and applaud the governments of Fiji and Kiribati for understanding the importance of WASH and of prioritising that,” said Melanie Hopkins, High Commissioner and Head of the Pacific Network, British High Commission Suva.
Handwashing with water and soap is vital to prevent and protect children against COVID-19.
In light of the current global pandemic, this partnership will build resilience for about 400,000 Fijians and I-Kiribati with funding used to provide hand sanitizers, soaps, cleaning supplies for health facilities, schools and markets; construct and repair handwashing facilities including water systems (tanks) especially at health facilities; and to roll-out a campaign on behaviour change on radio and TV to reinforce hygiene behaviour practices.
“Pacific Island Countries have among the lowest levels of access to clean water and sanitation services in the world, and are amongst the highest in terms of exposure to natural disasters. We thank the Government of the United Kingdom for this support, and together with the Governments of Fiji and Kiribati, partners and communities, we will ensure that the most vulnerable, especially children, have access to clean water, sanitation and better hygiene in their local health facilities,” said UNICEF Pacific Representative, Sheldon Yett.
Through addressing sanitation and hygiene with a focus on resilience and gender, this project will assist Fiji and Kiribati in achieving its national strategic goal of sustainable development in addition to preventing and reducing the transmission of COVID-19.
The UK, as a major contributor of UNICEF’s programming, has supported UNICEF to deliver assistance to children across the Pacific Islands under its 2018-22 programme supporting 14 countries. This additional US$300,000 funding towards water and sanitation in Fiji and Kiribati, is in addition to its ongoing funding to UNICEF-supported programmes to address child mortality, education, nutrition, child protection, health and water, sanitation and hygiene in the Pacific.
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