Thanks to the United Arab Emirates-based organization Dubai Cares, children across Mali are learning health and sanitation practices that they can share with their families. The Dubai Cares WASH program is being implemented in 726 schools across the West African country, as part of the organization’s “End Poverty. Educate Now.” campaign.
The Mali WASH campaign is part of a four-year program, which sees Dubai Cares partnering with organizations like Unicef, Save the Children, Oxfam, Care, and WaterAid in order to improve access to primary education in developing countries. Students are educated on hygiene, cleanliness, and health, and the program installs low-cost water and sanitation infrastructure in schools.
Yousuf Dissa, a student at the N’tjibougou School, has learned about washing hands before meals and is now spreading the message to his family.
“You have to wash with soap every time before and after food and after using the latrine,” he told Gulf News.
He and his classmates also learned the importance of clean drinking water. He says, “At school, we’ve learned to keep our drinking water clean. Now at the village, we’ve made everyone aware there should be a cover protecting [the water pump], and that we must keep our buckets off the ground to avoid dirt contaminating the water.”
Teachers have also been trained as part of the WASH initiative so that they can continue to give messages about hygiene in class.
The Dubai Cares program has the potential to make a huge impact in Mali, a country where 900,000 children are out of school, and where many students drop out of school. Children often miss out on education due to preventable health problems like diarrhea, intestinal worms, and malnutrition. These frequently stem from inadequate sanitation facilities at schools and a lack of access to clean drinking water.
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