In partnership with UNICEF, Cotes enables fresh drinking water initiatives for those who need it most.
Because Cotes adsorption dehumidifiers remove unwanted humidity from the air, taking water from where it is not needed, it was a natural fit for us to support initiatives that get water where it is needed. With the help of UNICEF, we “give back the water we take”, by helping to provide clean drinking water to people in water-scarce communities worldwide through the UNICEF "WASH" (Water, Sanitation, Hygiene) initiative.
Challenges to Universal WASH Coverage in schools
Reaching the goal of universal coverage of the WASH Initiative in schools by 2030 (which aligns with Sustainable Development Goal number 6) will be a massive challenge. Current progress rates need to increase by 14 times for drinking water, 3 times for sanitation, and 5 times for hygiene.
These are the challenges that lay ahead in providing safe water, sanitation, and hygiene in schools in East Asia and the Pacific:
1. One-third of the schools in East Asia and the Pacific lack WASH service: In schools without enough water, students often have to collect water, which is time-consuming and risky. This causes them to miss school or arrive late, affecting their studies and morale. Teachers also miss school for the same reason and schools lacking proper WASH facilities struggle to keep teachers.
2. Keeping school toilets clean and making them girl-friendly: Ensuring clean and girl-friendly school toilets is a challenge due to resource limitations, resulting in students having to clean the facilities. Traditional toilet designs lead to quick dirt buildup, and many approved designs are costly for NGOs to replicate. Crucial adaptations for girls' privacy and accessibility for disabled students are lacking in most schools.
3. Lack of menstrual health and hygiene impacts millions of girl students: Menstruation is often surrounded by secrecy and shame, leading to limited knowledge and inadequate access to facilities and supplies. This prevents girls in East Asia and the Pacific from managing their periods with dignity. The lack of proper facilities, clean water, and hygiene materials results in school absenteeism and exposes girls to stigma and risks, impacting their education and rights.
4. WASH facilities are not climate-resilient: Extreme weather conditions (heatwaves, droughts, heavy rainfall, and cyclones) negatively affect schools, the health and well-being of children. Schools face disruptions due to damaged facilities and unreliable WASH and energy services. Damage to sanitation facilities impacts student attendance and droughts create water shortages that disrupt hygiene practices. Lack of reliable water supply makes students walk long distances, meaning they are more tired at school.
Investing in solutions will protect children's health today and ensure a sustainable future for generations to come
For more than 25 years, UNICEF has been at the forefront of "WASH in Schools" programmes. Their ongoing efforts to these programmes worldwide demonstrate a deep understanding of the challenges school administrators face on a daily basis. Consequently, the following solutions are required:
- Ensuring schools have water, sanitation and hygiene facilities
- Designing affordable, inclusive, easy-to-clean, female-friendly and climate-resilient school toilets
- Expanding the reach of menstrual health and hygiene
- Ensuring WASH services are climate-resilient
How UNICEF and its partners are making a difference
Through strategic partnerships that combine financial investment with corporate technical expertise, UNICEF's partners are working towards solving water, sanitation, and hygiene issues in schools in East Asia and the Pacific, here are a few examples:
- In Indonesia, UNICEF helped 15.000 schools reopen safely with COVID-19 kits, benefitting over 1 million children.
- In Timor-Leste, UNICEF supported WASH services in 91 schools, prioritising affordable, inclusive, climate-resilient, and female-friendly designs.
- In Lao People’s Democratic Republic, UNICEF expanded WASH coverage across 15 provinces, involving water supplies, hygiene facilities, and education.
- In Myanmar, UNICEF supported the construction of WASH facilities in 2.774 schools, providing stability to internally displaced children by providing them with a secure, clean, and dignified learning environment.
- In Mongolia, climate-resilient WASH facilities in schools led to an increased budget allocation for nationwide construction or rehabilitation.
- In the Pacific Islands (Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu), over 600 schools were assessed, leading to government support and improved hygiene behaviour among students.
- In Papua New Guinea, UNICEF engaged 115,000+ students in WASH awareness campaigns and events, fostering a culture of hygiene and sanitation among students.
WE GIVE BACK THE WATER WE TAKE
The Cotes and UNICEF partnership provides fresh drinking water initiatives in communities around the world. In 2022 and 2023, with the help of UNICEF, Cotes has given over 140 million litres of fresh drinking water to those who need it most. Join us in making a difference: