Water and Sanitation




© UNICEF Côte d'Ivoire/2006/Westerbeek


The conflict that ended in 2007 has greatly affected regular maintenance and repair of water supply infrastructures, especially in the North of the country. This deterioration, coupled with poor sanitation conditions, increases the risk of transmission of water-related diseases, both in rural and urban areas.

More than 8 million people – 43 % of Côte d’Ivoire’s population – lack appropriate sanitation facilities and over 4 million people still use unsafe drinking water sources, especially in rural areas. Consequently, many children die every day from diarrhea and other diseases related to the lack of water and appropriate sanitation; many more suffer and are weakened by illness.

The lack of access to safe drinking water and appropriate sanitation has many other serious repercussions. Children – and particularly girls – are denied their right to education because they are busy fetching water or are deterred by the lack of separate and decent sanitation facilities in schools. Women are forced to spend large parts of their day fetching water (85.9% of women in Côte d’Ivoire are in charge of supplying their family with water). Poor farmers and workers are less productive due to frequent illnesses, and national economies suffer. Without safe water and appropriate sanitation, sustainable development is impossible.

UNICEF action and impact

The Water and Sanitation sector in Côte d’Ivoire faces two major problems:

  • The difficulty for many communities to access safe drinking water in sufficient quantities
  • The limited access to sewage infrastructures and latrines, and difficulties in discharging household refuse in urban centres

To address these issues, the UNICEF Water and Sanitation programme focuses on three components:

  • The supply of water in community, school and health centres and in peri-urban environment
  • The promotion of hygiene and sanitation in community, school and health centres and in peri-urban environment 
  • The epidemiological surveillance to prevent water-related diseases

© UNICEF Côte d'Ivoire/2006/Westerbeek

UNICEF Côte d’Ivoire works in six regions (Dix-Huit Montagnes, Moyen-Cavally, Denguelé, Vallée du Bandama, Marahoué, Worodougou) of the country and in poor neighborhoods of Abidjan (the biggest city of the country) to improve water supply and sanitation facilities and to promote safe hygiene practices in schools, health centres and communities.

During the socio-political crisis, in collaboration with its partners, UNICEF provided urgent relief to communities affected by disrupted water supplies and disease.

Since 2005, 560,000 crisis-affected women and children have benefited from water supply through the rehabilitation of already existing water infrastructures. Community’s environment sanitation and restoration of hygiene conditions were made possible through supply of adequate equipments and awareness raising activities on personal, food and environmental hygiene.

UNICEF repaired around 1,160 village pumps in 2006 and about 1,170 in 2007. Moreover, more than 1,833 water management village committees were reactivated in 2007 and awareness raising activities on hygiene took place in the same villages. UNICEF also improved water supply in 2 hospitals and 5 health centres. 27 health centres are currently undergoing rehabilitation. 

Guinea worm infestation has steadily declined, with only 10 cases reported in 2005, against 21 cases in 2004. In 2006, only 5 cases were reported and 0 cases were notified in 2007. Pre-certification for the eradication of Guinea Worm disease in Côte d’Ivoire is currently being prepared.

Partners in Côte d’Ivoire work to reach thousands with safe water

Global handwashing day

2008 - International Year of Sanitation

Tap Project





Key data

  • In 2007, about 700,000 people benefited from access to drinking water through the rehabilitation/construction of 1,170 village pumps, and from improved hygiene through sensitization activities
  • Guinea worm: 198 cases in 2002, 21 in 2004, 5 in 2006, 0 in 2007
  • In 2006, latrines were built in 120 primary schools and 30 communities benefited from the construction of 222 latrines. In 2007, 734 latrines were built in 150 villages
  • 24% of the population does not have access to safe drinking water (MICS 2006)
  • 35% of people living in rural areas do not have access to safe drinking water (MICS 2006)
  • 7.5% of girls under 15 are in charge of fetching water for their family
  • 43% of the population does not have access to appropriate sanitary facilities (MICS 2006)
  • UNICEF participated in advocacy activities with the Government and the Société de Distribution d’Eau de la Côte d’Ivoire (SODECI) for the restoration of access to drinking water and electricity in the cities of Bouaké and Bonoua
  • UNICEF contributed to creating a National Emergency Committee to ensure access to drinking water; access being one of the solutions for numerous emergency problems in the Centre, North and West of the country


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