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UN Women, WSSCC Partner to Improve Sanitation and Hygiene Access in Africa

un-water-wsscc9 March 2014: UN Women and the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC) launched a partnership to strengthen policies in health, hygiene and sanitation, with the aim of improving living conditions for women and girls in West and Central Africa. The partnership will directly affect women, who are the main users and managers of water and sanitation in sub-Saharan Africa.

Lack of equity and inclusion are critical obstacles to achieving water, sanitation and hygiene goals, with significant inequalities persisting in service access and use. Lack of sanitation contributes to harmful environmental, education and health consequences. Women who lack access to sanitation may also experience poor reproductive and maternal health due to poor management of, inter alia, menstrual hygiene.

Lauding the partnership, Archana Patkar, WSSCC, pointed to sanitation as an “entry point” for women's empowerment, which will enable women to pursue an education and be “more productive in working areas that are clean and have proper facilities.”

Josephine Odera, UN Women Regional Director for West and Central Africa, underscored sanitation and hygiene as critical in women's access to health. She said positive outcomes can be achieved through programmes with gender-specific budgets and awareness raising components.

UN Women and WSSCC launched the partnership during a ceremony in Louga, Senegal. The regional programme will cover Benin, Cameroon, Liberia, Niger, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo. [WSSCC News Story]