Africa Water, Sanitation & Hygiene Africa Water, Sanitation Jan -Feb 2014 Vol.10 No1 - Page 12

NEWS in brief Global Highlights First World Soil Day For 2.5 billion people across the developing world, having no access to even the most basic sanitation is a reality faced every day Photograph: Ahmed Jallanzo/ EPA On December 5th, the first official celebration and the launch of the International Year of Soil take splice. Soil, together with water, is the basis for food, feed, fuel and fibre production and for services to ecosystems and human well-being. The achievement of food security and nutrition, climate change adaptation and mitigation and overall sustainable development greatly depends on the condition of soils at local and global levels. A healthy life is not possible without healthy soils. Soil is the reservoir for at least a quarter of global biodiversity, and therefore requires the same attention as above-ground biodiversity. It also plays a key role in the supply of clean water and resilience to floods and droughts. And soils have been neglected for too long. We fail to connect soil with our food, water, climate, biodiversity and life. We must invert this tendency and take up some preserving and restoring actions. Unilever to launch world’s first Toilet Academy in Vietnam First Domestos Toilet Academy opened in Vietnam Unilever is also pioneering an innovative approach to the provision of sanitation, through its continued partnership with the World Toilet Organization, to launch the world’s first Domestos Toilet Academy in Vietnam. This academy will provide the business skills and training necessary for local entrepreneurs to source and supply latrines to their local communities – providing jobs and a boost to the economy, and at the same time promoting the importance of safe and 12 Africa Water, Sanitation & Hygiene • January - February 2015 hygienic sanitation. The Toilet Academy programme aims to be a sustainable and long-term solution to sanitation that benefits local society and helps stimulate local economy. Dr Nguyen Thi Kim Tien, Minister of Health Vietnam said: “Currently, many countries, including Vietnam, are still facing lots of difficulties and challenges. Challenges of globalization as well as environmental pollution, population growth and urbanization have impacted the sanitation crisis. In Vietnam, the Government has put strong emphasis on stimulating and promoting the “Patriotic Hygiene Movement” to mobilize all management agencies, organizations at all levels and entire nation to join hands in improving hygiene and sanitation as this is essential in the current context.” “The active participation of businesses like Unilever, helping improve health and hygiene for communities is greatly appreciated and widely acknowledged. The launch of the Toilet Academy clearly demonstrates Unilever’s enormous effort and will positively contribute to improve sanitary conditions for Vietnamese people.” Source: WASHplus Ghana and Togo sign project agreement to bring drinking water to Lomé and Ghana’s coastal communities The governments of Ghana and Togo signed on 12 December 2014 a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the construction of an African Water Facility -supported pipeline to bring drinking water from the lower Volta River in Ghana to the city of Lomé in Togo and the Ghanaian communities along the water transfer route. The AWF has offered a €1.4 million grant to Ghana to support the technical, legal and financial preparation of the PublicPrivate Partnership (PPP) project. In addition to AWF support, the African Legal Support Facility (ALSF) is providing a € 0.7 million grant to help prepare the project. The signing of the MoU in Lomé has paved the way for