AUCKLAND, 28 September 2022 – UNICEF Aotearoa Ambassador Dan Carter recently travelled to Vanuatu in the Pacific Islands to meet with children and families who now have access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) in their schools and communities.
Carter raised more than NZ$500,000 in the DC10 Fund Kickathon in April this year to support a joint New Zealand Aid Programme/UNICEF Aotearoa New Zealand development initiative providing WASH to children in the Pacific. During this trip, Carter had the chance to meet with some of the more than 80,000 children in Vanuatu who will benefit from this support.
In Pentecost Island, a remote island in Vanuatu, Carter visited school children where he learnt about the WASH in Schools programme that is improving the water and sanitation facilities for students, and where children play a key role in educating students on hygiene practices.
Carter said, “I was so inspired to meet the children and communities from Pentecost Island, who have been through so much with recent cyclones damaging their homes and schools. The children were so excited and engaged at school to show us the WASH programme and having access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene practices is really changing their lives.”
During the two days spent on Pentecost Island, Carter visited schools in Pangi, Ranwandi, Melsisi, Poinkros and Londar communities, meeting with children to see the water and sanitation programmes being supported by the DC10 Fund as well as to learn about the Parent Support Programme from community members. He also visited a health centre and maternal and child health clinic to see how families receive medical care on the island and the ongoing support to improve the WASH facilities in these health care facilities.
“Clean water is something many people take for granted. To meet with the ni-Vanuatu children who are now gaining access to improved water and sanitation through the funds raised by the DC10 Fund, really moved me. This support is really changing these children’s lives and giving them a better future. I was also fortunate enough to have a kicking session with the children and there are definitely some future rugby stars in Vanuatu,” said Carter.
Carter launched the DC10 Fund, in partnership with UNICEF, in April when he kicked a rugby ball for 24-hours straight, to raise money for UNICEF’s work to provide essential clean water and sanitation for children in the Pacific and Vanuatu.
UNICEF Aotearoa CEO, Michelle Sharp, said, “It was a privilege to accompany our UNICEF Aotearoa Ambassador Dan Carter to Vanuatu to see first-hand the impact that the DC10 Fund has made. The remoteness of these schools and communities really struck me and I was amazed at how steep the mountain climb was for these school children. We saw how vital the support is to ensure clean water & sanitation facilities, lifesaving immunisations, early childhood education and development. The smiles on the faces of the children said it all.”
Across the Pacific, water and sanitation-related diseases are one of the leading causes of death for children under the age of five. UNICEF is working in some of the most remote and challenging areas to deliver clean water and sanitation to 134,000 children in Kiribati, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu.