Sweden’s Ambassador to Bangladesh Alexandra Berg von Linde and UNICEF’s representative in Bangladesh Sheldon Yett at the major signing event on Tuesday, December 14, 2021 Courtesy
The grant will improve water safety for 20 million people
On Tuesday, the Swedish government donated $ 4 million to Unicef to improve water safety, sanitation and hygiene for local communities and strengthen young people from marginalized communities in Bangladesh.
The grant will improve water safety for 20 million people – 5.4 million of them children – in severely arsenic-affected rural areas, a media statement said.
While Bangladesh has made significant progress towards improving drinking water and eliminating the risk of arsenic contamination, there are still challenges to overcome, the statement said.
With previous support from Sweden, Unicef has developed practical and innovative models for arsenic-free water systems.
Bangladesh will now scale up these models by investing $ 240 million of its own budget in arsenic-safe water hardware.
“Our goal is to provide access to safe and clean water, basic toilets and good hygiene practices for all children,” said Sheldon Yett, UNICEF Representative in Bangladesh.
The new $ 2 million grant from Sweden represents the bridging phase of a major grant and will enable Unicef to provide technical assistance that ensures that the new systems meet national safety standards.
Over the past four years, through Unicef’s collaboration with partners, and with support from the Swedish government, 2,500 new safe water points now serve over 300,000 people, and almost half a million people have benefited from hygiene training and improved latrines.
In addition, 261 villages have been declared arsenic safe.
A second additional contribution to Unicef of USD 2 million from Sweden will support a broad program of efforts to improve the health, diet, protection and life skills of young people, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds in Dhaka, Gazipur, Barisal and Patuakhali.
The program includes comprehensive sex education and mental health care.
It will also support young people to participate in programs to address the effects of climate change in their communities.
“By investing in young people, we strengthen their ability to build a brighter future for themselves, their families and communities,” Yett added.
Sweden’s Ambassador to Bangladesh Alexandra Berg von Linde said: “Sweden has supported Bangladesh since its independence to improve the sexual and reproductive health and rights of young people (SRHR).
The Swedish ambassador continued: “Increased access to SRHR will contribute to creating an enabling environment for young people to unleash their full potential. Sweden is also happy to contribute to expanding water, sanitation and hygiene facilities for the poor and vulnerable population. Women, children and young people are at the center of Swedish development cooperation. ”