In partnership with UNICEF, Cotes is helping to enable 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 getting water to where it is desperately needed. With the help of UNICEF, we “give what we take”, by helping to provide clean drinking water to people in water-scarce communities across the world through the UNICEF "WASH" (Water, Sanitation, Hygiene) initiative.
In 2022, Cotes, in partnership with UNICEF, helped to provide over 70 million litres of fresh drinking water to those who genuinely need it worldwide. Discover why it is important to invest in climate-resilient water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) services to protect children around the globe and why Cotes is proud of this partnership with UNICEF.
Africa is facing a water catastrophe
190 million children in ten African countries are at the highest risk from a convergence of three water-related threats – inadequate water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH), and related diseases and climate hazards – according to a new UNICEF analysis.
The three water-related threats were found to be most acute in Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Côte d'Ivoire, Guinea, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, and Somalia, making West and Central Africa two of the world's most water-insecure and climate-impacted regions, according to the analysis. Many of the worst-affected countries, particularly in the Sahel, are also facing social instability and armed conflict, further aggravating children’s access to clean water and sanitation. All combined, devastating storms, floods, and historic droughts are destroying homes and facilities, contaminating water resources, creating hunger crises, and spreading disease.
Image above: A young boy collects what little water he can from a dried-up river due to severe drought across the Horn of Africa.
Image above: A devastating drought in the Horn of Africa forces a family to return home with water from a USAID-funded solar-powered borehole of UNICEF in Ainabo, Somalia.
"While climate and water-related shocks are escalating globally, nowhere else in the world do the risks compound as severely for children. Without urgent action, the future could be much more bleak,” says UNICEF Director of Programmes Sanjay Wijesekera.
The global analysis – which reviewed household access to WASH services, the burden of WASH-attributable deaths among children under five, and exposure to climate and environmental hazards – reveals where children face the biggest threat and where investment in solutions is desperately needed to prevent unnecessary deaths.
Across the ten hotspots, nearly one-third of children do not have access to at least basic water at home, and two-thirds do not have basic sanitation services. A quarter of children have no choice but to practise open defecation. Hand hygiene is also limited, with three-quarters of children unable to wash their hands because of lack of water and soap at home.
As a result, these countries also carry the heaviest burden of child deaths from diseases caused by inadequate WASH, such as diarrhoeal diseases. For example, six of the ten countries have faced cholera outbreaks over the past year. Globally, more than 1,000 children under five die every day from WASH-related diseases, with around two out of five concentrated in these ten countries alone.
Image above: Children using the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) facility set up by UNICEF in Ekiti State, Nigeria.
These hotspots also rank within the top 25 per cent of 163 countries globally with the highest risk of exposure to climate and environmental threats. Higher temperatures – which accelerate pathogen replication – are increasing 1.5 times faster than the global average in parts of West and Central Africa. Groundwater levels are also dropping, requiring some communities to dig wells twice as deep as just a decade ago. At the same time, rainfall has become more erratic and intense, leading to floods that contaminate scarce water supplies.
All ten hotspot countries are also classified by OECD as fragile or extremely fragile, with the stresses of armed conflict in some countries threatening to reverse progress toward safe water and sanitation. For example, Burkina Faso has seen a ramping up of attacks on water facilities as a tactic to displace communities. In 2022, 58 water points were attacked, up from 21 in 2021, and three in 2020. As a result, more than 830,000 people – over half of whom are children – lost access to safe drinking water in the last year.
Investing in climate-resilient solutions will protect children's health today and ensure a sustainable future for generations to come
The new analysis comes ahead of the UN 2023 Water Conference taking place in New York from 22-24 March this year (2023). World leaders, relevant organizations and other participants will convene for the first time in 46 years to review progress toward ensuring access to water and sanitation for all. At the conference, UNICEF is calling for:
- Rapid upscaling of investment in the sector, including from global climate financing.
- Strengthening climate resilience in the WASH sector and communities.
- Prioritizing the most vulnerable communities in WASH programmes and policies.
- Increasing effective and accountable systems, coordination and capacities to provide water and sanitation services.
- Implementing the UN-Water SDG6 Global Acceleration Framework and investing in the key accelerators.
Image above: Children washing their hands at the Public School Bindia, in Bertoua, the East of Cameroon.
"The loss of a child's life is shattering for families. But the pain is intensified when it is preventable and caused by the lack of basic necessities many take for granted like safe drinking water, toilets, and soap,” said Wijesekera.
WE GIVE BACK THE WATER WE TAKE
The Cotes and UNICEF partnership provides fresh drinking water initiatives in communities around the world. In 2022, Cotes supported the provision of 70 million litres of fresh drinking water to those who need it most. In 2023, Cotes will give back even more.
The analysis is based on a composite of data pulled from three sources:
- WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme: Progress on household drinking water, sanitation and hygiene 2000-2020: five years into the SDGs
- WHO: Deaths by Cause, Age, Sex, by Country and by Region, 2000-2019
- UNICEF: The Climate Crisis is a Child Rights Crisis: Introducing The Children's Climate Risk Index