UN-HABITAT project avails water to orphans in Lake Victoria region

NAIROBI, Kenya, July 30, 2009 -- A project initiated by UN-HABITAT is helping improve access to water and sanitation for orphan-headed households in the Lake Victoria region...

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NAIROBI, Kenya, July 30, 2009 -- A project initiated by UN-HABITAT is helping improve access to water and sanitation for orphan-headed households in the Lake Victoria region.

Operating under the aegis of the Lake Victoria Water and Sanitation Initiative of UN-HABITAT, the Improving Access to Water and Sanitation for HIV/AIDS Orphan-Child-Headed Households in the Lake Victoria Region project is being implemented in collaboration with local Non Governmental Organizations such as Community Based Organizations and Faith Based Organizations.

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A rain harvesting water tank for an orphan-headed household in Kyotera, Uganda.
The objective of these pilot projects is to demonstrate that on-site sanitation and Rain Water Harvesting schemes are viable and sustainable alternatives for marginalized and disadvantaged groups, including HIV/AIDS Orphan or Child Headed Households that are not connected to local authority water and sanitation networks. The focus is on improving knowledge and enhancing skills in on-site sanitation and rain water harvesting systems in orphan headed households.

Major project activities include rapid assessment of the scale and specific needs of the HIV/AIDS orphan-headed households, undertaking provision of improved water and sanitation facilities for selected HIV/AIDS Orphan headed households, capacity building at the community level to manage the facilities, establishment of a micro-credit facility to support expansion and scale up of the project, documentation and dissemination of best practices from the demonstration projects, and production of appropriate advocacy and hygiene awareness tools.

UN-HABITAT interventions in water and sanitation are guided by the need to encourage community participation and involvement at all stages of project design, selection of beneficiaries and implementation, in order to build a strong sense of ownership of the project at the local level. Through its local partners, UN-HABITAT is reaching out to other NGOs, CBOs and beneficiary communities to ensure their active participation in the process, as well as their contribution to project activities in cash or in kind. The project intends to promote appropriate technologies that respond to real needs on the ground, are affordable, can be managed by the communities, and are replicable. Project awareness raising approaches are usually inclusive and participatory to ensure a meaningful and lasting transformation of attitudes, behavior and practices, resulting in proper use and management of water at the household community levels, and the adoption of good hygiene and sanitation practices.

Supporting HIV/AIDS orphaned children and other vulnerable groups to access affordable clean water and basic sanitation will result in substantial household savings, enabling HIV/AIDS care-givers, many of them old women and girls, to devote more time to income generating activities and to schooling respectively.

The United Nations Human Settlements Program, UN-HABITAT (www.unhabitat.org), is the United Nations agency for human settlements. It is mandated by the UN General Assembly to promote socially and environmentally sustainable towns and cities with the goal of providing adequate shelter for all.


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