Despite making a progress in the education sector for the children, large number of children are yet to receive much needed education. At a time when Nepal government has announced education for all, the decision of Finland to support UNICEF is highly important.
The Government of Finland and UNICEF have expanded their partnership for children in Nepal through programs in Education and in Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH).
At a ceremony held in Kathmandu, Pertti Anttinen, Ambassador of Finland in Nepal, and Elke Wisch, UNICEF Representative in Nepal, signed a partnership agreement for the next three years, committing 8 million Euros to enhance quality services for children in Nepal.
While Nepal has registered significant progress in access to education and water and sanitation services in recent decades, and today the majority of children are enrolled in school, due to challenges with the quality and inclusiveness of education, many are not learning even basic skills.
With 71 per cent of households collecting drinking water from contaminated sources, the quality of WASH services is similarly challenged. In response, the partnership will support a range of early childhood, basic formal education and adolescent non-formal education interventions with a strong focus on improving quality, safety and inclusiveness, particularly for children from different mother tongue backgrounds and for children with disabilities.
According to a press release issued by UNICEF, WASH interventions will aim to provide universal access and water safety for some of the most unreached populations in Nepal.
"The core goal of Finland’s development policy is to eradicate extreme poverty and to reduce poverty and inequality. Finland’s actions strive to promote that the rights of children and the most vulnerable, notably the disabled, are taken account of in all our activities, women and girls are better educated and have better skills, and to ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all. Finland wants to support both the enabling environment and community-level work. It is crucial to reach the unreached and leave no one behind when it comes to education and water sanitation," said Anttinen.
"UNICEF is one of Finland’s long-term partners in Nepal, especially in the WASH and education sectors. The good relations are based on mutual learning, common goals and joint efforts to promote sustainable development. By entering this partnership, we want to ensure that our work is promoting synergy, harmonization and complementarity between the sectors and different interventions.”
“Nepal has made remarkable progress in access to education and water and sanitation coverage over the past few decades since the country committed to improving the situation of child rights as an early signatory to the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).
As we celebrate the 30th anniversary of the CRC, improving the quality and inclusiveness of services remains the key challenge in our joint efforts to ensure that no child is left behind and ensure that every child in Nepal achieves her individual potential, said Wisch.
“The expanded partnership with the Government of Finland will go a long way in bringing safe water and sanitation to the most marginalized communities and in creating an enabling environment to equip today’s children with the knowledge and skills they will need to contribute to the development of their country as Nepal advances towards the Sustainable Development Goals targets and the 2030 agenda.”