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Climate finance projects around the world are continuing to function and deliver emission reductions as much as they can within the restrictions of the pandemic. But for some, their valuable contribution to the health of communities has raised them to the level of essential services that must carry on during this time.
Communities around the world in all circumstances are dealing with the health risks and livelihood impacts from Coronavirus. But for many, these are on top of the challenges they face daily. Here we outline two of the climate finance projects, in Guatemala and Sub-Saharan Africa, which have been identified as essential services where they operate.
In a country where more than one third of the population regularly drinks and cooks with contaminated, untreated water and water-borne diseases are common, the Ecofiltro water filter factory has been added to the list of supermarkets, pharmacies and energy providers permitted to stay open in Guatemala. The factory is manufacturing ceramic filters to for low-income households to ensure supply of clean, drinkable water. Ecofiltro has also donated 500 filters to elderly care homes and 170 filters to health care professionals and their families to reduce the risk of gastrointestinal diseases and dehydration in Guatemala City, relieving pressure on healthcare systems.
While sales of the filters in urban areas are paused due to the closure of shops and schools, they continue in rural areas, with sales personnel wearing masks and gloves and maintaining a safe distance from customers. Without the urban sales to middle-income families, climate finance becomes increasingly important to cover the project’s operating costs.
In Sub-Saharan Africa, the Improved Water Infrastructure project, which operates in seven countries, was also given the go-ahead to continue rehabilitating broken boreholes where it is safe to do so. In addition to providing clean, safe water, the project is continuing to raise awareness of the importance of essential WASH (WAter, Sanitation and Hygiene) practices.
“Whilst the current COVID-19 situation has brought many challenges, rather than having to scale down our work, we have in fact significantly increased operations in many countries where we work,” commented Paul Chiplen, Director of Sales and Marketing at CO2balance, which manages the project. “We have been granted “essential service” status in several areas within Africa, which has allowed us not only to continue our borehole rehabilitation programme, but to expand at a much faster rate, with local communities and health officials seeing the vital role that access to clean water provides in combating COVID-19 in Africa. Now more than ever, providing clean water along with training and facilities for hygiene and sanitation practices, specifically hand-washing, is essential.”