Currently, in all corners of the world, shortages of water and sanitation persist. As a result, countries have started to secure clean and safe water resources to protect their citizens against water-related disasters. Water issues are no longer matters of a single region or nation, but a challenge that requires a global collective and collaborative effort. Tackling water needs is a global debate this century, and interested parties from across governments, academia, private organisations and interest groups are striving to find solutions. At this year’s 7th World Water Forum, Coca-Cola International announced its way forward to help alleviate some of the water problems hindering Africa’s people and their prosperity.
Coca-Cola International will expand its Africa Foundation’s (TCCAF) Replenish Africa Initiative (RAIN), pledging an additional US$35 million to support sustainable safe water access and sanitation programs that will benefit four million people by 2020. This new funding builds on an original RAIN commitment of US$30 million bringing safe water access to two million people across the African continent by the end of 2015. Overall, this significant financial investment will help to improve the lives of more than six million Africans giving people here access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene—also known as WASH—by 2020.
RAIN is a public-private partnership with more than 140 partners led by TCCAF, whose programs currently empower 2,000 communities through WASH programs in 37 African countries. Improving sustainable safe water access for Africa will have a positive domino effect, economically empowering up to 250,000 women and youth; promoting health and hygiene in thousands of communities, schools and health centres and returning up to 18.5 billion litres of water to nature and communities.
The investment in Africa will dramatically improve basic living. For example, in Kenya, Madagascar, and Mozambique, Water & Sanitation for the Urban Poor (WSUP) will used RAIN funding to improve water services and associated reductions in water and hygiene related diseases in selected cities that will benefit up to two million people by 2018. In Zambia, TCCAF, Millennium Challenge Corporation, United States Agency for International Development and WSUP will together be providing sustainable safe water access throughout the city of Lusaka and includes sanitation facilities and hygiene education in schools in Lusaka. In Rwanda, TCCAF and Global Grassroots are empowering women to lead water enterprises, improving water access for 30,000 people across the country.
Lack of access to safe drinking water is currently among the most pressing health and development issues facing Africa, a country that is a real bright spot in the global economy. This is a region that continues to achieve robust growth rates: in 2013, five of the world’s ten fastest growing economies belonged to Africa. Plus, consumer spending is expected to boom between now and 2030, reaching $2.2 trillion per year. That’s why initiatives like RAIN will help to secure Africa’s continued growth and prosperity.
Photo Credit: Coca Cola RAIN