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Coca-Cola Partners With WaterAid to Provide Safe Drinking Water in Africa

Image credit: Coca-Cola

The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation this week joined forces with WaterAid to increase accessibility to safe drinking water for one of the poorest suburbs of Burkina Faso’s capital city of Ouagadougou and in two rural communities in southern Ethiopia.

Coca-Cola and WaterAid 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 substantial amount of time women and girls spend walking to get water each day, and open up the possibility for them to use the time to attend school, earn an income or care for their children and families.

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 percent.

Through its Replenish Africa Initiative (RAIN), Coca-Cola says it is committed to helping provide sustained safe water access to 2 million people in Africa by 2015.

“At Coca-Cola, water stewardship is a strategic sustainability priority as so much of our business depends on water,” said Greg Koch, Coke's director of global water stewardship. “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.”

Coca-Cola this year became one of the first companies to be awarded the Carbon Trust Water Standard, which recognizes companies for consistently measuring, managing and reducing overall water usage in their operations. Coke has achieved its lowest-ever water-use ratio and reduced its water usage by nearly 15 percent since 2007.

Mike Hower is Marketing Communications Manager at Carbon Lighthouse. With a background on both sides of the communications podium — as a journalist and strategic communicator — he is committed to helping organizations address climate change through sustainability innovation. Previously,… [Read more about Mike Hower]

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