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Name United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)
Logo Image:Unicef_logo.gif
Geographic Scope Developing Countries
Subject Focus Expertise Children and Women
Contact E-mail: info@unicef.ch
URL http://www.unicef.org/

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UNICEF was established on 11 December 1946 by the United Nations to meet the emergency needs of children in post-war Europe and China. Its full name was the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund. In 1950, its mandate was broadened to address the long-term needs of children and women in developing countries everywhere. UNICEF became a permanent part of the United Nations system in 1953, when its name was shortened to the United Nations Children's Fund. However, UNICEF retained its original acronym. UNICEF works in 191 countries through country programmes and National Committees.

UNICEF strongly condemns that without WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene), sustainable development is impossible. Without WASH, children – and particularly girls – are denied their right to education because their schools lack private and decent sanitation facilities. Women are forced to spend large parts of their day fetching water. UNICEF works in more than 90 countries around the world to improve water supplies and sanitation facilities in schools and communities, and to promote safe hygiene practices. All UNICEF WASH programmes are designed to contribute to the Millennium Development Goal for water and sanitation: to halve, by 2015, the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe water and basic sanitation. UNICEF uses a human rights based approach (HRBA) and works in partnership with communities – especially women and children – in planning, implementing and maintaining water and sanitation systems.

UNICEF believes that nurturing and caring for children are the cornerstones of human progress. UNICEF was created with this purpose in mind – to work with others to overcome the obstacles that poverty, violence, disease and discrimination place in a child’s path. We believe that we can, together, advance the cause of humanity.

UNICEF's mission in the area of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) is to contribute to the realization of children’s rights to survival and development through promotion of the sector and support to national programmes that increase equitable and sustainable access to, and use of, safe water and basic sanitation services, and promote improved hygiene.

Key Resources

See also complete list of WaterWiki-documented UNICEF-Publications

Data and statistics

  • WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme for Water Supply and Sanitation. The goals of the JMP are to report on the status of water-supply and sanitation, and to support countries in their efforts to monitor this sector, which will enable better planning and management. JMP assessments were made in 1991, 1993, 1996 and 2000. In 2004, a midterm assessment was produced, which measured progress towards the [[[MDGs|Millennium Development Goals' (MDG)]] drinking-water and sanitation targets. In 2005, as we entered the International Decade for Action, a report entitled "water for life: making it happen", makes it clear that achieving the target of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation will bring a payback worth many times the investment involved. It will also bring health, dignity and transformed lives to many millions of the world’s poorest people. The latest report, published in 2006, analyses how access to drinking water and sanitation services is evolving. A special focus is given to the trends observed in urban and rural areas and how these are related to the likelihood of achieving the MDG drinking water and sanitation target.

The data collected for JMP come from two main sources:

    • Assessment questionnaires are normally sent to WHO country representatives, to be completed in liaison with local UNICEF staff and national agencies involved in the sector.
    • Household survey results were collected from several sources, including Demographic Health Surveys (DHS), UNICEF's Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS), World Health Surveys (WHS) and national demographic censuses.
  • Water and Sanitation Country profile pages - provide important sector-related statistics in some of the countries in which UNICEF supports water and sanitation programmes.
  • Water Statistics
  • Sanitation Statistics
  • Monitoring the situation of women and children - Contains the full range of statistical information made available by UNICEF. The website also contains the full set of resources to do the UNICEF supported Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS). MICS enables countries to produce nationally-representative and statistically sound data used to monitor national and international targets. Along with the demographics and health surveys, MICS is a major global source of information that provides data to monitor close to half of the MDG indicators. Water and sanitation are among many other indicators. An example of a publication linked to this system is the Progress for Children: A Report Card on Water and Sanitation which report on whether the world is on course to reach MDG 7 – and where efforts are falling short.
  • Children and water global statistics


  • UNICEF and WHO, Progress on Drinking Water and Sanitation, a 2008 MDG Assessment Report
  • Progress in Drinking Water and Sanitation: Special Focus on Sanitation (2008 JMP report) - This is the latest publication by the WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme for Water Supply and Sanitation. The report details global progress towards the MDG target for drinking water and sanitation, and what these trends suggest for the remainder of the Water for Life Decade 2005-2015.
  • Towards Effective Programming for WASH in Schools: A manual on scaling up programmes for water, sanitation and hygiene in schools (2007) - This 2007 UNICEF – IRC joint publication is an update of the 1998 manual on water, sanitation and hygiene education in schools. It describes many of the elements needed for scaling up programmes in schools while ensuring quality and sustainability. The manual is intended as a resource for government, UNICEF, NGOs and other stakeholders involved in programming for WASH in schools.
  • UNICEF Hanbook on Water Quality - This handbook is a comprehensive new tool to help UNICEF and its partners meet the responsibility of protecting water sources and mitigating quality problems. The handbook provides an introduction to all aspects of water quality, with a particular focus on the areas most relevant to professionals working in developing countries. It covers the effects of poor water quality, quality monitoring, the protection of water supplies, methods for improving water quality, and building awareness and capacity related to water quality. Finally, the handbook provides an extensive set of links to key water quality references and resources.
  • Sanitation and hygiene promotion: programming guidance - This document is about setting in place a process whereby people (women, children and men) effect and sustain a hygienic and healthy environment for themselves. It talks about developing a programme for more effective investment in sanitation and hygiene promotion. It is not about developing projects and it does not give blue-print solutions for project-level interventions. Rather it lays out a process for long-term change which may encompass institutional transformation of the policy and organizational arrangements for provision of goods and services.
  • UNICEF Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Strategy
  • Sanitation for All: Promoting dignity and human rights - The UNICEF sanitation brochure is a tool for generating new sanitation and hygiene policy and programme actions at country, regional and international levels.
  • Water Handbook - A comprehensive review and guide on procedures, methodologies and technologies for water programmes.
  • Sanitation Handbook - The manual—first in the Technical Guidelines series—provides tools to support national and local initiatives for improved sanitation programming.

Click Here for all UNICEF publications related to water, sanitation and hyiene (WASH).

Work on the Ground

Working directly with community-based organizations and communities and families themselves, via a bottom-up approach.

  • UNICEF Tap Project - was launched during World Water Week called the Tap Project, a campaign that celebrates the clean and accessible tap water available as an every day privilege to millions, while helping UNICEF provide safe drinking water to children around the world. Beginning Sunday, March 16 through Saturday, March 22, 2008, restaurants invited their customers to donate a minimum of $1 or more, for the tap water they would normally get for free. For every dollar raised, a child will have clean drinking water for 40 days.


See also

External Resources


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