Dadaab: Lack of water and sanitation affects women and girls

Nairobi, December 9, 2016. To mark this year’s World Human Rights Day, CARE urges the international community to ensure that more than 261,000 refugees still have permanent and consistent access to safe and clean water and sanitation as long as the camp remains open.

For years, funding short-cuts have been challenging the maintenance of the world’s biggest refugee camp. With the Kenyan government’s announcement to close Dadaab, refugees face an imminent threat of inadequate sanitation and lack of fresh water.

“Water and sanitation are human rights, access to clean water and safe facilities are essential and inalienable – 365 days a year,” says Rod Volway, CARE Kenya’s director of refugee operations in Dadaab. “Every day should be human rights day. In Dadaab, more than 1,600 refugee incentive workers are supporting us for example as water technicians or latrine cleaners to put people’s dignity at the forefront of our humanitarian response.”

The right to safe and clean water and sanitation facilities is more often far beyond reality for over 60 million people fleeing conflict or natural disasters worldwide. “For women access to clean water can be a matter of life and death, especially during their menstruation or when they are pregnant,” mentions Volway. “With constantly monitoring water quality and keeping up with water tab stands we ensure women and girls’ dignity.”

CARE calls on the international community to strengthen its efforts to meet one of the most pressing sustainable development goals: access to clean and safe water and sanitation for all. “Together we must demand what should be guaranteed, safe and clean access for every single human being by 2030 and that includes refugees still living in Dadaab,” adds Volway.

CARE has been working with UNHCR in Dadaab since 1992. Over the last two months, CARE together with its partner the European Commission Humanitarian Aid department (ECHO) distributed over 1,600 new latrines to women-headed households in Dagahaley camp, the second largest of Dadaab’s five camps. Despite the maintenance of already existing facilities CARE and ECHO are also working on plans to extend water pipelines to transit centers where refugees are patiently waiting for repatriation to their home country Somalia. At the same time trainings for water technicians, teachers or auto mechanics are expanded so that refugees who will be repatriated or resettled will be able to create new homes and self-sustaining communities, in Somalia, Kenya or other parts of the world.


Media Contact:

Ninja Taprogge, CARE Emergency Communications Officer, Dadaab, [email protected], +254717914806 and +4915170167497.

Read more about CARE's work in Kenya here