The UNICEF Water and Sanitation (WASH) programme, with financial support from the European Union (EU) has started the implementation of a public awareness project to promote efficient water use and improved hygiene practices in Iraq.
The project will engage 10 million Iraqis with messages on effective water conservation, water handling at the household level and hygiene practices. The project will aim change household level their behaviours and help the Government of Iraq’s efforts to institutionalize public awareness activities within existing ministries at national, regional and governorate levels.
So far, two workshops had been conducted, one in Erbil with the participation of the stakeholders in KRG governorates where a sub-national taskforce was formulated to operationalize the plans and another one in Najaf with the participation of senior staff from line ministries (General Secretariat for the Council of Ministries, Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Municipality and Public Works, Ministry of Education, Mayoralty of Baghdad, and Ministry of Planning), in addition to local NGOs, media, institutions and social media experts.
The UNICEF WASH programme EU-funded project has four main pillars:
- Gaining in sight on current practices by conducting a survey on social and behavioural practices on water usage and environmental aspects across Iraq to guide intervention messages and strategies.
- Forming a higher ministerial committee and branch committees to operationalize and monitor the project across all of Iraq.
- Agreeing on the objectives and messages to raise the awareness on water conservation and change behaviour.
- Conducting a post campaign survey on water usage and environmental aspects to evaluate the impact of the project and the level of behaviour change.
“The importance of this project at this stage lies in the advocacy with the government counterparts, showing the importance of the conservation of water resources in anticipation of expected shortages in the near future as a result of climate change in the region and the extension of desertification to several agricultural lands,” said Dr. Ali Al-Khateeb, the acting chief of WASH. “It is also important to stop tampering with the water environment and prohibit disposing of waste and pollutants in water sources.”