Two Cuban neighborhoods are today the site of a sanitation-hygiene project aimed at children, in collaboration with Unicef, explained the organization’s representative on the island, María Machicado.

The project is being undertaken in the eastern province of Santiago de Cuba and Havana neighborhood of La Timba, using schools as centers to promote health initiatives and community participation, stated the official, speaking with Prensa Latina during the 2017 Cubagua International Convention.

According to Machicado, the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (Unicef) initiative is among efforts in Cuba to better prepare families and communities to deal with extreme natural phenomena such as hurricanes and prolonged droughts.

From frequent hand washing to water saving actions at home, a wide variety issues will be taught to children who are usually good agents of change, noted the official, who also recalled the successful recovery efforts in Santiago de Cuba following Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

Unicef has identified similar needs in the province of Guantánamo given the impact of Hurricane Matthew, and hopes to channel resources toward recovering water supplies and other urgent services, through financing from Russia, she noted.

According to Machicado, this aid will be sent to the four most affected municipalities in the region, Baracoa, Maisí, Imías, and San Antonio del Sur, in order to improve access to water in accordance with the priorities set by the government.

Regarding water resources, the current Unicef collaboration project in Santiago de Cuba is benefiting from funds linked to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, ratified by the international community, noted Machicado.

Various UN agencies are offering their support in Guantánamo, the province most severely affected by the country’s prolonged drought, which entails, according to the representative, a multi-sectoral approach, in collaboration with the government and state organizations such as the National Water Resources Institute and the ministries of Education and Health.

Machicado noted that the environmental-sanitation experiment is progressing well and should serve to extend the practice to other municipalities.