School: Saginaw Arts and Sciences Academy
Topic: Access to Water
An astonishing 40% of the world population does not have access to sanitary water, with a predicted 1.8 billion people living in regions of absolute water scarcity in 2025 (UN-Water). The lack of access to water is even more prevalent in developing nations, specifically in Africa where diseases spread in contaminated water that is consumed by children daily. A total of 80% of diseases and illnesses in LDCs are related to sanitation problems.
Limited access to safe drinking water leads to the spread of water-based diseases such as diarrhea, viral hepatitis A, cholera, and the Guinea Worm Disease. These diseases become a cause of death in children under five years of age in developing countries and about 86,000 children under the age of 15 die each year due to water-borne diseases (UN News). In Equatorial Guinea, the average mortality rate for children 5 and under is 9% higher than the average in sub-Saharan Africa. Women and girls are two and a half times more likely to be water carriers in their family, preventing them from obtaining an education, as seen in the adult literacy rate: 92% for males and 76% for females. Although Equatorial Guinea receives high rainfall each year between April to November, there are few systems put in place to clean the water. Only 18% of the population surrounding cities have access to sources for safe drinking water, and effective water supply systems are not up to standards in the cities with little to no management for wastewater.
The delegation of Equatorial Guinea recognizes that effective measures have been made to eradicate the deaths related to water contamination and gender inequality in terms of education. A project in 2007 between UNICEF and Exxon-Mobil EG have constructed a collective system for rainwater in Baney, on the roof of the schools. The systems allow for the rainwater to be safely filtered for consumption, allowing children, especially young girls, to remain in school. The delegation of Equatorial Guinea looks forward to collaborating with fellow nations to create solutions for the problems regarding access to water such as education, diseases, and availability of clean water sources.
- Charlotte Howald