JERUSALEM, July 2, 2015 (WAFA) – The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) has donated an additional $2.1 million to help improve Palestinian students’ access to safe, drinking water and adequate sanitation facilities across the West Bank and Gaza.

The contribution aims to support UNICEF’s water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) in Schools programme.

“Australia is very pleased to continue its strong partnership with UNICEF to improve vulnerable students’ access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene practices,” said Tom Wilson, Head of Office in the Australian Representative Office in Ramallah.

This contribution is expected to help more than 70,000 students to further strengthen the “WASH in schools” programme.

This new donation will allow UNICEF to rehabilitate or build WASH facilities in 10 schools, while promoting adequate sanitation and good hygiene practices among the most vulnerable children.

It will also encourage environmentally-friendly practices by supporting grey water (gently used water from bathroom sinks and showers) reuse as well as rainwater harvesting systems in 26 schools.

“Ensuring that schools provide safe drinking water and adequate hygiene and sanitation facilities along quality education helps reduce the number of days children skip school each year, and is critical to children’s health and development”, said June Kunugi, UNICEF State of Palestine Special Representative

“This programme will also help improve students’ health by teaching them adequate hygiene practices, which they can then share with peers, empowering them to become agents of positive change in their own communities,” Kunugi added.