In Mongolia, back to school, back to better water and sanitation facilities

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Inadequate access to safe water and sanitation services, coupled with poor hygiene practices, kills and sickens many children every day, and leads to impoverishment and diminished opportunities for thousands more.

It's almost time for Khaliunaa, Bulganaa and the other children of nomadic herder families to return to their boarding school in Khuvsgul province, Mongolia. This year, back-to-school preparations have included major improvements to the school's water, sanitation and hygiene facilities.

KHUVSGUL PROVINCE, Mongolia, 30 August 2013 - Khaliunaa, 13, and her sister Bulganaa, 9, live in Tarialan soum, Khuvsgul province, a remote area in the north of Mongolia. Their father Buyanbadrakh and mother Narangerel are nomadic herders - the family move several times a year in search of better pasture land for the sheep, goats, horses and cows that are their livelihood.

Right now, the family are in their summer home, a small wooden cabin on the steppe, some 12 km from the soum centre, according to Buyanbadrakh. He says that, in the winter, the family shelter some 28 km away.

Because they live so far from the centre, the girls attend boarding school, together with the other nomadic children. The school year runs from September to May. "I like learning new things at school," Khaliunaa says. "My favourite subject is Mongolian script."

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