Unicef Work


UNICEF Technical Assistance in India 

India Country Office | Water, Sanitation and Hygiene | Oct 2013

UNICEF's Mandate

Since 1949, UNICEF, the largest United Nations organization in India remains fully committed to working with the Government of India to ensure that each child gets the best start in life, and thrives and develops to his or her full potential.

The challenge is enormous but UNICEF is well placed to meet it. Through its unique presence comprising New Delhi and 13 state offices UNICEF uses quality research and data to understand issues, implements new and innovative interventions that address the situation of the poorest and most disadvantaged women and children, and works with partners to accelerate change.

UNICEF uses its community-level knowledge to develop interventions to ensure that women and children are able to access basic services such as clean drinking water, health workers and educational facilities, and that these services are of high quality. UNICEF also reaches out directly to families to help them to understand what they must do to ensure their children thrive. UNICEF also wants them to feel a sense of ownership of these services. That same knowledge and interface with communities enables the organization to tackle issues that would otherwise be difficult to address: for example the elimination of open defecation and safe household drinking water.

UNICEF Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) in India

UNICEF is not an implementing organization so does not directly construct toilets and water systems. Instead it supports the Government of India and State Government programs through high level technical advice. The Government of India and State Governments together allocated 220 billion Rupees (approx. 4.4 billion USD) into WASH in 2011/12; UNICEF contributed financially about 0.23% of this but its attribution and contribution is far higher due to the quality and impact it levers as the main government partner for WASH in the States.

During the period 2013-2017 and especially looking at the impact on the most deprived communities, UNICEF WASH will focus solely on technical advice in support scaling-up improved and service delivery of:
  • Safe and sustainable water
  • Community approaches to eliminate open defecation and promote the adoption of hygiene practices, especially in the most deprived communities;
  • WASH in Schools and AWCs; and
  • Access to data, evidence, information and knowledge to guide WASH advocacy, policy, planning, program and budgetary action
UNICEF will also work to embed critical water, sanitation and hygiene practices in child and maternal health services and facilities; and promote these with mothers to improve new born and infant care. This requires a strong focus on assisting governments to align government flagship programs in rural development, child nutrition, health and education with water, sanitation and hygiene.

The UNICEF WASH team has over 20 professionals providing key technical assistance, monitoring and evaluation inputs and best practice sharing and knowledge management. It is one of the few actors in WASH at State and District levels, particularly in the least developed districts. National level advocacy, e.g. at parliament and legislative assembly as well as strengthening of policy and guidance, for example around communication and NBA guidelines, are developed by government with UNICEF support.

UNICEF advocacy helps to demonstrate the critical role of behavior change for toilet use, hygiene and WASH in Schools. Using evidence of surveys and studies that show barriers in sustained use of toilets and Panchayats slipping back to open defecation after receiving the Nirmal Gram Puraskar (Clean Village Award) is one example of UNICEF’s credibility at National and State level.

UNICEF’s strategy, especially at State level, is to add quality to government strategy, policy and implementation. A joint plan of action with the PHED focuses on areas especially linked to system strengthening (principally on increased monitoring with quality) and capacity building (principally around communication, water quality, emergency preparedness and response and areas such as change management, quality assurance issues).
Facts and stats
Indian Ocean takes the pledge

Why Take Poo To The Loo?

Close to 594 million which is 48 percent of population in India practices open defecation. That's half the population dumping over 65 million kilos of poo out there every day. If this poo continues to be let loose on us, there will be no escaping the stench of life threating infections, diseases and epidemics.

It's time to take the poo to the loo.

Take the Pledge



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