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Update: Developments in Joint Safe Water Project in Nigeria

New carbon credit issuance proves measurable impact


First Climate and long-standing project partner, Impact Water, proudly announce the issuance of 2022 vintage carbon credits from their safe water project in Nigeria. This new issuance of 700,000 Gold Standard certified credits also signals the continued success of a community well-being project that supplies clean water and filtration systems to schools in Nigeria.


School children drinking water from Safe Water program

As a reputable project developer, Impact Water has been designing and implementing sustainable climate change mitigation projects in Sub-Saharan Africa, where they have installed more than 32,000 water purification systems since 2014. This water purification project takes local, contaminated water and treats millions of liters of water with the help of UV systems, water filters and/or chlorination. Once treated, the water is safe for consumption as either drinking water or for sanitation purposes. Without this relatively simple technology, this water would traditionally have been partially sanitized through boiling, usually employing inefficient, carbon-emitting combustion that relies on the use of firewood and charcoal.


About 90 million Nigerians use non-renewable biomass, such as wood, for cooking and boiling water in a labour-intensive and inefficient effort to supply safe water to their households. This photo shows a woman buying wood on a market near Abuja, Nigeria. (Photo credit: First Climate)


In Nigeria where under 20% of the population has reliable access to safe drinking water, Impact Water has already delivered water purification systems to about 20,000 schools to date – this translates to approximately 8 million children benefitting from access to safe drinking water. Funds acquired through the sale of voluntary carbon credits generated by the project, enable the partners to efficiently install, run, and maintain thousands of new water treatment systems in schools as well as to further enhance the impact created through the project activities.


“We are on a mission to provide safe drinking water to all school children in Nigeria. We are encouraged by the results achieved so far. Carbon finance has played an essential role in this regard: thanks to the support of dedicated organizations around the world, we have been able to offer our water purification systems to schools at no cost – a critical linchpin to local acceptance since schools do not have any budget for this kind of expense,” explains Tim Neville, Chief Operating Officer at Impact Water.


Practical solutions for water security

The demand for safe water solutions in Nigeria has reached a critical point. In 2018, the Nigerian government officially issued a state of water emergency, confirming that around 39 million students in local schools lack access to safe water. To counter this problem, Impact Water, with First Climate’s backing, introduced different water purification technologies, which can accommodate various schools based on their needs and infrastructure. The products range from chlorine tabs which can clean up to 100 liters of water with a single tablet (ULTRATAB) to an automated system which can treat thousands of liters of water with chlorine at correct concentrations based on the schools’ existing water pressure (ULTRAFLO). Impact Water staff collaborate closely with school administrators to figure out which technology best suits their needs.


First Climate takes a closer look at local impact

As the exclusive project partner and in anticipation of the Gold Standard credit issuance, representatives from First Climate conducted site visits in Nigeria recently. They met with project staff and toured local schools where Impact Water’s treatment units would eventually be installed. Yves Keller, representing First Climate, visited various project sites and saw firsthand how access to clean water impacts students and their families. “Preemptively stopping the need to collect water daily can impact years of schooling for children, by freeing up this time to attend school. At the same time, the provision of safe drinking water lowers the rate of water-borne illnesses and contributes to a safe and conducive learning environment while at school,” states Keller, who also led workshops and met with government officials during the tour.


Connecting companies to verified climate change mitigation projects

For more than 20 years, First Climate has been connecting its high-quality portfolio of climate change mitigation projects to companies seeking to reach their climate action targets on the voluntary carbon market. The safe water project and the collaboration with Impact Water are magnificent examples of this approach. “The measurable impact of this project is tremendous and has effects well beyond putting clean water in water bottles and bathroom sinks,” exclaims Heike Natzet, Authorized Representative at First Climate. “Safe water means safer schools, children being able to learn in a sanitized environment, and families having access to the basic right of unfettered access to clean water,” she claims.


Look for future project updates in this series and read the project fact sheet here.


About Impact Water

Impact Water (IW) is led by a dedicated global team, based in the U.S., and multinational teams in its 3 country offices in Uganda, Kenya and Nigeria. The team includes entrepreneurs, development practitioners, social scientists, marketeers, and project managers by training, who are deeply committed to what they do. Before Impact Water launched in Uganda, boiling was often the only tool schools had to make drinking water safe for their students. Schools struggled with the cost of firewood as well as the hours lost to the chore of boiling water. Affordable water purification strategies were largely absent in the market, which inspired Impact Water to innovate a new approach. Impact Water installed the first water purification system in Uganda in 2013. Impact Water now aims to make universal coverage of safe drinking water systems a reality in schools across Africa.

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