UNICEF in Senegal seizes the great attention and mobilization around the 9th World Water Forum, held in Dakar, to call for greater investment in sanitation in the country. According to the latest data (DHS-2017), only one in two households (49%) have improved toilets and more than 2.5 million people, especially in rural areas, still practice open defecation in the country.
“Poor sanitation puts children at risk of childhood diseases and malnutrition that can impact their overall development, learning and, later in life, economic opportunities” says Silvia Danailov, UNICEF Representative in Senegal. “Without basic sanitation services, people have no choice but to use inadequate latrines or to practice open defecation, posing a risk to health and livelihoods.”
While acknowledging recent progress and the strong leadership and commitment of the Government in scaling up of the Community-led Total Sanitation in Senegal, more funding support are needed to help the country end open defecation by 2030. Current support is heavily dependent on UNICEF financing. UNICEF supported the Government for the development of a Senegal Open Defecation Free roadmap and a guide for its implementation. Financial support provided by UNICEF amounts to US$ 4.5 million.
Introduced in the country in 2009, the Community-led Total Sanitation is a simple and extremely effective strategy that hinges on positive behaviour change by communities who are convinced that open defecation leads to contamination and disease and make that crucial change to end open defecation.
Since the start of the programme, a total of 1.8 million people from 4,300 villages have abandoned open defecation in the country thanks to the CLTS strategy. The institutionalization of the expanded CLTS approach – working with other sectors including health, education, nutrition, birth registration and social protection helped to reinforce the communities’ adherence to the approach. With UNICEF support, more than 6,100 of the 11,000 targeted villages have already triggered the approach in the country.
“Now is the right time to accelerate and scale up at large the approach. UNICEF urges swift action, ‘robust financing’ to close the gaps and reach the most vulnerable. Without additional support, we will not meet the objective of making Senegal Open-Defecation Free by 2030” Ms. Danailov added.
Senegal has achieved progress in the expansion of sources for the provision of safe water. 8 out of 10 of households have access to drinking water from an improved source, however, major disparities still exist between regions. In Sedhiou (25.6%) and Kolda (23.5%) regions, around 1 in 4 households do not have access to improved water sources.»Greater investment needed in sanitation in Senegal«