On their official visit to the United Nations Office at Nairobi today, the United Nations Secretary-General, Mr. Kofi Annan, and his wife Nane were entertained by a programme of songs, poems and drama performed by children from the Sai Amboseli School, in the informal settlements of Kawangware in Nairobi. The performance by fifty boys and girls from the school raised awareness about the importance of safe water, sanitation and hygiene. The children stressed, in particular, that “water is life for all creatures and therefore efforts should be made to preserve it.”
The programme was in honour of Mrs. Annan, who also inspected a photo exhibition on various aspects of water and sanitation jointly organized by UN-HABITAT and the Kenya Institute of Education (KIE). The exhibition was entitled: “Water and Sanitation in African Cities Through the Eyes of the Child.” Also present at the occasion were the Director General of the United Nations Office at Nairobi and Executive Director of the United Nations Environmental Programme, Mr. Klaus Töpfer, and his wife.
Mrs. Annan thanked the children for their performance and added that “We all believe that water is life just as the children had said in their various presentations.” She called on the children to spread the message on the value of water to their homes in order to achieve one of the objectives of the Millennium Development Goal, which is to halve by the year 2015 the number of people without access to clean water and adequate sanitation.
The Executive Director of UN-HABITAT, Mrs. Anna Tibaijuka, praised Mrs. Annan for supporting the cause of water and sanitation around the world. Mrs. Tibaijuka pointed out that the themes of the presentations by the children were drawn from the Values-based Water Education Programme (VBWE), which UN-HABITAT was promoting in Africa and elsewhere.
Mrs. Tibaijuka said that over the past three years, UN-HABITAT had been implementing VBWE in Cote d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Senegal and Zambia as part of the Water for African Cities Programme.
She added that in Kenya, the initiative was being implemented through the Kenya Institute of Education in collaboration with the Department of Education of the Nairobi City Council and six non-governmental organizations active in community water and hygiene education.