Company announces initiative to support clean water, sanitation in African countries
The Coca-Cola Co. and the Coca-Cola Africa Foundation recently announced a $3.5 million commitment to the U.S. Water Partnership (USWP) to advance sustainable water access in African countries facing the greatest clean water challenges.
Bea Perez, the company's chief sustainability officer, made the announcement at the Rio+20 Conference in Brazil, where participants worked to shape policy on global poverty reduction, social equity advancement and environmental protection.
The USWP was announced by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on World Water Day 2012. This public-private partnership was established to unite American expertise, knowledge and resources, and mobilize those assets to address water challenges around the globe, especially in the developing world.
"The U.S. Water Partnership is about connecting people and resources, making information easily accessible, reducing transaction costs and leveraging the assets of partners to offer a range of U.S.-based approaches and solutions tailored to key water needs. Whether it is improved access to knowledge and technical training or mobilizing experts and resources, the partnership aims to provide integrated solutions to water challenges around the world," Clinton said. "We very much appreciate the leadership of Coca-Cola in providing new resources to the U.S. Water Partnership, and for their investments in clean water access in African countries of great need."
The company's commitment will support USWP operations as well as water access programs in countries with the most significant water access needs through its flagship program, the Replenish Africa Initiative (RAIN). In 2012, Coca-Cola will provide more than $3 million in support of five African countries, where, according to the Joint Monitoring Program 2012 Update, less than half of the population has improved access to clean water. These countries are Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Madagascar, Mozambique and Somaliland. One hundred million people, nearly one-third of those lacking safe water access on the African continent, live in these five countries.
The funds will support a variety of sustainable water access activities ranging from expanding water access in informal urban settlements to providing water access in hospitals and promoting multiple uses of water that empower women. These projects are core to the company's 2012 RAIN project portfolio, which addresses the diversity of water challenges faced by Africans, including sustainable agriculture, water and sanitation in schools, and rural and urban community water access.
Also as part of this effort, the Coca-Cola Co. will provide $500,000 of operational support to the USWP to bring additional resources to African countries characterized as high-need for clean water and sanitation. The USWP also will make the best practices from these RAIN investments widely available to the global water sector.
"These programs are in the spirit of the Rio meetings—conserving natural resources for future generations, improving livelihoods and ensuring the sustainability of the communities we serve," said William Asiko, president of the Coca-Cola Africa Foundation.