May 03, 2013

WaterAid, Coca-Cola Africa Bring Safe Water to Burkina Faso, Ethiopia

Sanitation & hygiene services contribute to long-lasting improvements in Ethiopia and Burkina Faso

WaterAid Coca-Cola Africa Foundation Bring Safe Water to Burkina Faso Ethiopia

WaterAid is joining forces with the Coca-Cola Africa Foundation to make safe drinking water a reality for people living in one of the poorest suburbs of Burkina Faso's capital city, Ouagadougou, and in two rural communities in southern Ethiopia.

WaterAid and Coca-Cola will work with the local community and water utility in Burkina Faso to extend existing water pipelines and install new water points that provide residents with clean, treated drinking water. This will help residents reduce the risk of contracting waterborne diseases that are highly prevalent in the area, such as bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A and typhoid fever. It also will reduce the amount of time that women and girls spend walking to get water each day, and open up the possibility for them to instead use the time to attend school, earn an income or care for their children and families.

"Through our Replenish Africa Initiative (RAIN), we are committed to helping provide sustained safe water access to 2 million people in Africa by 2015," said William Asiko, president of the Coca-Cola Africa Foundation. "The partnership with WaterAid supports our RAIN goal and enables us to assist in supporting communities where we have yet to engage. We appreciate the opportunity to be part of WaterAid's efforts, which we anticipate will create long-lasting improvements."

In Ethiopia, Coca-Cola and WaterAid will help provide safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene services to the Dita and Kemba districts of the vast, impoverished Gamo-Gofa zone in the southern part of the country. Water- and sanitation-related diseases are rampant in these two districts due to severe seasonal water shortages, the absence of perennial rivers, little surface water and high soil degradation. The Gamo-Gofa highlands, with rugged mountainous terrain, have limited road networks, resulting in water supply coverage for these two districts as low as 5%.

"At Coca-Cola, water stewardship is a strategic sustainability priority, as so much of our business depends on water. It is the main ingredient in our products and it sustains the communities that form our markets," said Greg Koch, director, global water stewardship, for the Coca-Cola Co. "A key element of our strategy is helping communities gain access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene, and we do that in partnership with them, local governments, civil society and implementation partners. Only so much can be achieved unilaterally. Partnerships, such as ours with WaterAid, make greater results possible."