The Coca-Cola Company and The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation announced today that $6 million will be dedicated to water and sanitation partnerships aimed at improving the lives of an estimated 250,000 women and girls on the African continent. The announcement was made as part of a high-level leadership event on World Water Day, including remarks from U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and World Bank President Robert Zoellick.
Through RAIN, which will provide at least 2 million people with access to safe drinking water and sanitation by 2015, The Coca-Cola Company’s $6 million contribution will have an impact on women and girls in African countries including Algeria, Kenya, Liberia, Morocco, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Tunisia, and Uganda. In addition, in 2011, RAIN will continue to support multi-year initiatives being implemented through the Water and Development Alliance (WADA), The Coca-Cola Company’s partnership with United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in Angola, Burundi, Egypt, Ghana, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, and Tanzania.
“The water and sanitation crisis affects billions of people every day, but the impact on women and girls is particularly devastating,” said Muhtar Kent, Chairman and CEO of The Coca-Cola Company. “Supporting initiatives that promote access to water for women and girls is a building block for community health with a ripple effect on social and economic empowerment. This is a win-win for everyone.”
Providing access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene is critical for creating healthy communities around the world. The World Health Organization estimates that African women and children spend up to 40 billion hours collecting water each year; time that could otherwise be spent learning, working or caring for their families. Because of the distance many women are required to travel to retrieve clean water, they often resort to using unsafe surface water sources, putting themselves and their families at risk of life-threatening diseases. Additionally, data from the United Nations show that a child dies every 15 seconds on average from the diarrheal and malnutrition impacts related to unsafe water, inadequate sanitation or insufficient hygiene.
With NGOs and government organizations as partners, The Coca-Cola Company is able to positively impact communities in need through health, safety, education, and income-generating activities for women.
In Rwanda, Coca-Cola is working with development organization Water For People and other partners to provide access to water for approximately 17,000 people in the Gahanga and Masaka districts of Kicukiro. Coca-Cola’s funds are helping to leverage significant contributions from local government and communities, an indication of ownership that is critical for sustainability. In 2011, the provision of water access in two schools and sanitation access in four schools should help increase the attendance of female learners who often don’t attend school due to the absence of proper sanitation facilities. In addition, 17 new community tap stands in the Gahanga sector will help to decrease the amount of time women and girls spend traveling to collect water.
The RAIN Water for Schools project is providing integrated Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) interventions at 100 South African schools. In partnership with the Government’s Department of Basic Education (DBE), The Mvula Trust and H2O for Life, water points and gender segregated latrines will be constructed helping to increase female attendance in schools and empower girls to share proper hygiene and sanitation behaviors with their communities.
RAIN’s focus on gender issues builds on The Coca-Cola Company’s existing commitment to improve the lives of women and girls, including its 5 BY 20 pledge. This initiative aims to empower 5 million women entrepreneurs throughout Coca-Cola's global business system by 2020, capitalizing on the Company's presence in over 200 countries and its business model, which relies on millions of small-scale distributors and retailers, many of whom are women.
To learn more about RAIN, visit: https://secure.thecoca-colaafricafoundation.org/africa-water-projects-rain.asp