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Environmental Health

In many communities around the world, environmental degradation and pollution threaten human health. Food scarcity, unsafe water, smog-choked air, and poor waste management are just some of the ways that unhealthy environments put people at risk for ill health. Chemonics has worked globally to increase individual well-being by improving environment.

Strengthened decision-making: The Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET) weighs environmental factors such as seasonal rainfall, ground and surface water availability, land surface temperature, the viability of areas for crop production, and natural disaster risk in its assessment of emerging food security concerns. FEWS NET also documents local livelihoods, informing the structure of efforts to provide comprehensive, timely and accurate information to decision makers in order to mitigate food insecurity.

Supporting clean water initiatives. In Egypt, Chemonics current Water and Wastewater Sector Support project provides technical assistance to the Egyptian government on water production and distribution; wastewater collection, treatment, and disposal; and planning. In Angola, Botswana, and Namibia, the Southern African Regional Environmental Program (SAREP) helps to improve trans-boundary resource management in the Okavango River Basin. SAREP addresses threats to ecosystem services and biodiversity, improve access to water supply and sanitation services, and strengthen capacity to respond to climate change.

Building oversight through certification. In Jordan, the Operations and Maintenance Training project is striving to improve operation and maintenance of water and wastewater treatment plants by establishing an internationally recognized operator certification and training program outcomes. The project established a Board of Certification composed of key public, private, and nongovernmental organization partners, which is overseeing the design of national certification policies and mandatory standardized training and exams. As the model matures, it will be promoted regionally for neighboring Arabic-speaking countries.

Improving Sustainability. The Water Resources Sustainability project in Morocco aimed to improve water resources management in the urban, agricultural, and industrial sectors. The team implemented three demonstration projects integrating water-related technology, regulatory concerns, financing options, and public participation. These projects led the government of Morocco, other donors, multilateral lending institutions, and the private sector to consider using the technology findings in other locations.

Changing behaviors. In Madagascar, Chemonics’ Santénet project integrated environmental and health issues by highlighting their interconnectedness. The project focused on behavior change communication on a variety of health areas, including hygiene and safe water. The project also collaborated with USAID Eco-Regional Initiatives on community-level social mobilization to reduce environmental practices like slash-and-burn agriculture.

Promoting safe medical waste disposal. In Zambia, Chemonics’ Preventing the Medical Transmission of HIV project improved medical waste disposal through training on and implementation of improved injection safety practices and communications. These activities sought to improve medical waste disposal while reducing the spread of HIV and Hepatitis B. The project worked with the Zambia Ministry of Health and served as the secretariat to the National Infection Prevention Working Group.
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