The 14th edition of “The Night of Water” takes place this Saturday evening, October 9, in France. The French swimming federation and UNICEF France are mobilizing to make the greatest number of people aware of the problems of access to drinking water in the world.

Many fun and aquatic activities will be offered to the public to place this evening under the sign of celebration and solidarity. The funds collected through swimming pool entrance tickets will be donated in full to the benefit of UNICEF, which defends the cause of children around the world.

This year, the donations will help fund a program for children in Madagascar, one of the poorest countries in the world. 42% of children under 5 do not have access to drinking water there. Camille LACOURT, five-time world swimming champion, is the sponsor of the operation for the 7th consecutive year. Due to the health crisis, he was unable to travel to Madagascar but he remains marked by his trip to Haiti in 2019.

“What marks the most is seeing children with buckets on their heads to fetch water rather than going to school.”

Camille Lacourt

to franceinfo

Camille LACOURT recognizes that this situation is sometimes difficult to understand when you were born in a country where water flows easily from the tap. Since its creation in 2008, the Night of Water has raised more than 2 million euros for the benefit of UNICEF.

A first program was launched for the children of Togo, then those of Haiti and finally those of Madagascar today. In this country, more than 15 million people do not have access to drinking water. Hygiene and sanitation problems are particularly worrying in this country and chronic malnutrition primarily affects children under 5 years old. “It is absolutely necessary to help these populations, launches Camille Lacourt, there must be more access points to water, close to the populations “.

UNICEF regularly works with governments to educate children from an early age. It should be noted that half of 5-year-olds are stunted due to water-related diseases.

In Antananarivo, the capital of Madagascar, shanty towns and homeless people are multiplying, families and children swarm in the streets, consequences of impoverishment and rural exodus.

UNICEF has already installed drinking water fountains in several districts of the capital, and a 180-kilometer solar-powered pipeline has been installed in the south of the country, a dry and arid area.

“Water is also an educational problem, explains Camille Lacourt, this is why we must act in schools so that children in turn educate their parents. “ One of the vectors of contamination remains the absence of toilets. Everything is in the open air, near rivers, which contaminates the water and leads to disease.

“Yes dad, I know you have to turn off the tap while brushing your teeth.”

Jazz Lacourt, 8 years old

to franceinfo

Camille Lacourt, father of an 8-year-old girl, explains that he regularly educates her about water conservation, but he recognizes that she sometimes gives him advice such as turning off the tap by brushing her teeth or by favoring the shower to the bath. “The new generation is more armed than us”, he said.

The world champion, a specialist in the 50 meters and 100 meters backstroke, ended his swimming career in 2017 in Budapest, with a 5th gold medal and he admits that he has since deserted the pools. “Today I am going to the swimming pool for the pleasure of playing in the water with my daughter”, he said. However, he will do a few kilometers this evening to advance the UNICEF counter.

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