Denmark announces donation to UNICEF for sustainable in Ethiopia


The Government of Denmark through its partnership with UNICEF has announced a DKK 70 million (approx. 10 million USD) contribution over the next three years to support UNICEF’s water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) programme in Ethiopia.

Overall, 70 million people do not have access to clean water and 90 per cent of all children lack access to basic sanitation.

“Acute shortages of clean water, inadequate sanitation and poor hygiene practices threaten the lives of children leaving them prone to life threatening diseases like diarrhea and other waterborne illnesses,” said H.E. Kira Smith Sindbjerg, Danish Ambassador to Ethiopia. “Therefore, sustainable access to clean water in Ethiopia and the whole of Africa is a key development priority for Denmark.”


In addition, Ethiopia is a country prone to climatic shocks and right now it is facing the most severe drought in decades with climate change being the main driver.

“The majority of this funding will support the scale up of climate resilient and environmentally friendly water supply systems so when drought hits, children and their families will not have to suffer and will still have access to clean water,” said the Ambassador.

The Danish contribution will also improve access to WASH services in schools and health facilities, increase the installation of water points and promote safe hygiene practices which is especially critical to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

Further investments will be made to bolster UNICEF’s Emergency WASH mechanism, which provides life-saving WASH services at the onset of an emergency, such as in the current drought affected areas.

“UNICEF is extremely grateful to the Government of Denmark for this generous contribution,” said Gianfranco Rotigliano, UNICEF Representative in Ethiopia. “Every child has the right to clean water. When you provide a child with safe water, basic toilets and teach good hygiene practices, children are given a healthier start in life and are able to survive and thrive.”

For every child, clean water

In Ethiopia, 60 to 80 percent of communicable diseases are attributed to limited access to safe water and inadequate sanitation and hygiene services. In addition, an estimated 50 percent of the consequences of undernutrition are caused by environmental factors that include poor hygiene and lack of access to water supply and sanitation. There are strong links between sanitation and stunting, and open defecation can lead to fecal-oral diseases such as diarrhea, which can cause and worsen malnutrition.

Diarrhea is the leading cause of under-five mortality in Ethiopia, accounting for 23 per cent of all under-five deaths – more than 70,000 children a year.

Water and sanitation in numbers

  • 65 per cent of households have access to improved water sources
  • 6.3 per cent of households have access to improved sanitation
  • 60 – 80 percent of communicable diseases are attributed to limited access to safe water and inadequate sanitation and hygiene services
  • 70,000 under-five deaths per year due to diarrhoea
  • 17 per cent of people practice improved hygiene behaviours and live in healthy environments