Growing up in a clean and safe environment is every child’s right. Access to clean water, basic toilets, and good hygiene practices not only keeps children thriving, but also gives them a healthier start in life. The consequences of unsafe water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) on children can be deadly. Over 700 children under age 5 die every day of diarrhoeal diseases due to lack of appropriate WASH services. In areas of conflict, children are nearly 20 times more likely to die from diarrhoeal disease than from the conflict itself.

WASH is an acronym that stands for the interrelated areas of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene. Being critical to human life, ensuring access to potable (clean) water for drinking is an obvious immediate priority in crisis response. Water is also critical to food preparation, maintaining sanitary conditions and preventing the spread of disease. Access to basic toilets is thus another priority in emergencies, to ensure human waste does not become a source of disease. The delivery of WASH assistance in emergencies must also take into account the development of sustainable systems. Notably, WASH is an area of constant technical innovation.

In Ethiopia, 60 to 80 percent of communicable diseases are attributed to limited access to safe water and inadequate sanitation and hygiene services. In addition, an estimated 50 percent of the consequences of under nutrition are caused by environmental factors that include poor hygiene and lack of access to water supply and sanitation. There are strong links between sanitation and stunting, and open defecation can lead to fecal-oral diseases such as diarrhea, which can cause and worsen malnutrition.

Action for Social Development and Environmental Protection Organization (ASDEPO) is implementing an emergency WASH project in four woredas of Dawa Zone, Somali Regional State namely Moyale, Hudet, Qadaduma and Mubarak woredas with the support of Norwegian Church Aid (NCA). To address the WASH, need of the drought affected community, WASH interventions like water trucking, distribution of WASH NFIs, rehabilitation of nonfunctional water schemes and promoting hygiene activities were carried out.

ASDEPO also seeks to promote access to key institutions and services through provision of WASH facilities. In particular, ASDEPO works to promote enrolment and attendance in education services through provision of safe water and sanitation to schools and other education facilities.