Italy contributes €2.5 million to help vulnerable communities in Homs improve their access to drinking water, sanitation services and livelihoods – Syrian Arab Republic


Joint United Nations program to strengthen essential services for 45,000 people

Damascus, Syria July 26, 2022 — With a €2.5 million grant to the United Nations in Syria, the Italian government is committed to improving access to water and sanitation services and livelihoods to support vulnerable communities in Homs, Syria.

“The Italian government is committed to supporting local interventions, in collaboration with UN agencies; funding joint programs focusing on early recovery, livelihoods with a particular focus on gender,” said Massimiliano. D’Antuono, Charge d’Affaires of the Italian Embassy in Damascus.

“I am happy to be able to work together with the UN agencies to meet the most difficult needs of the Syrian people. Joint UN interventions in a specific area, drawing on each other’s expertise, allow us to have a holistic approach for a better impact on the people targeted,” added Alessandra Piermattei, Director of the Italian Development Cooperation Agency for Lebanon and Syria.

In Syria, nearly two-thirds of sewage treatment plants, half of pumping stations and one-third of water towers have been damaged as a result of the conflict. Nearly half of the population relies on alternative and often unsanitary water sources to meet or supplement their water needs and at least 70% of discharged wastewater is untreated.

Lack of access to clean water also has a disproportionate impact on women and girls. About 70% of people working in agriculture are women and about 25% are female-headed households.

“Lack of access to clean water will have significant impacts on the health of women and girls, including their reproductive health, as women have specific hygiene needs during menstruation, pregnancy and breastfeeding. It could also lead to increased poverty, maternal mortality and morbidity,” said Dr. Himyar Abdulmoghni, UNFPA Acting Representative in Syria.

Poor water quality also tends to lead to more waterborne diseases, including diarrhea, especially in children. Children often fetch water and the time they spend there means they spend less time in school.

“Drinking water is a right, not a privilege. With funding from the Italian government, UNICEF, as a member of the United Nations family, will provide 45,000 people in vulnerable communities with access to water drinking water and good sanitation to meet their basic needs and give them the opportunity to start rebuilding their lives,” said Bo Viktor Nylund, UNICEF Representative in Syria.

Through the partnership with Italy, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), together with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), will endeavor help children and their families access water safely and sustainably, strengthening farmers’ livelihoods. with adequate irrigation water, facilitating dialogue to reduce the risk of abuse and sexual violence during water collection, and increasing awareness of good menstrual health and access to hygiene products.

“With unemployment and underemployment at record levels, significant socio-economic deterioration and competition for resources, it is more crucial than ever to invest in early recovery and livelihoods interventions by putting the focus on the resilience of local communities through the rehabilitation of humanitarian infrastructure, livelihood support and social cohesion activities,” said Ramla Khalidi, UNDP Resident Representative in Syria.

Priority joint program interventions include:

  • Systematic repair of the primary and secondary water distribution network, water storage facilities
  • Rehabilitation of water production and treatment infrastructure such as water intakes, pumping stations and water treatment plants, all aimed at restoring basic service delivery
  • Rehabilitation of the existing sewage network, giving preference to the joint implementation of water and sanitation projects in the same area
  • Using solar energy to provide access to water and improve climate resilience
  • Rehabilitation of wells and irrigation networks based on a comprehensive assessment
  • Facilitating the engagement of farmers and community members to ensure sustainable, inclusive and context-sensitive water management using participatory approaches
  • Promoting efficient use of irrigation through regenerative agriculture to improve sustainable agricultural production and mitigate the effects of drought
  • Promotion of green jobs and diversification of income-generating activities, such as value-added processing of agricultural products, and support to entrepreneurs and MSMEs with a particular focus on women entrepreneurs and cooperatives.
  • Meaningful and systematic engagement with women and men of different ages in decisions related to water and sanitation, irrigation, and reproductive health and rights
  • Improved management of women’s and girls’ menstrual safety and hygiene and increased access to reproductive health and gender-based violence services

Media contacts

Eva Hind

Communications Manager

UNICEF

Tel: +963950044304

Email: [email protected]

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