On October 24, 2018, The Coca-Cola Foundation, through its Replenish Africa Initiative (RAIN), joined Somaliland Vice President Abdirahman Abdillahi Ismail, the European Union, KfW and other partners to commemorate the launch of a new component of Coca-Cola’s ongoing humanitarian response project bolstering Somaliland’s water security. Through this initiative RAIN will reach over 520,000 people in Hargeisa with sustainable access to affordable and safe water – bringing life’s most precious resource to more than 80% of the capital city’s residents. This work will provide critical relief as communities face the worst drought in living memory.

The humanitarian crisis facing Somaliland, and much of the Horn of Africa, is one of four global famines declared in 2017; it is estimated over six million individuals are reliant on food aid for survival. Some have called it the worst humanitarian crisis since WWII. Across the afflicted areas of the African Sahel, Coca-Cola and its Foundation are  currently investing over US$10 million in response and relief efforts. 

Somaliland is at a critical point. Since the drought began in 2015, an estimated 80% of the pastoral region’s cattle have died. Reports of families spending half of their monthly income on drinking water are common, and in March of 2017, reliefweb reported that over 4.5 million people in Somaliland and in Somalia were in need of Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) assistance. Exacerbating the situation even further, over 80,000 people have been displaced and are residing in informal Internally Displaced Person (IDP) settlements with little or no WASH infrastructure.

Since 2013, Somaliland Beverage Industries (SBI), Coca-Cola, and TCCF have been working with partners to build the capacity of water systems across Somaliland, to meet rising water demands and to provide the foundation needed for Somaliland to develop. To date RAIN has improved water access for over 120,000 individuals in Somaliland, many of whom reside in IDP settlements and are being reached with water access for the first time.

Abdallahi Ismail Saylici, Vice President of Somaliland

Upon completion of this initiative in 2020, RAIN will have provided over 20% of Somaliland’s total population, over 80% of Hargeisa’s population, and over 70% of the estimated internally displaced people in Somaliland, with sustainable and safe water access. This improved access to water will provide the region with an unprecedented opportunity for development and growth.

The new project phase was inaugurated at a launch event led by the Vice President of Somaliland, Honorable Abdirahman Abdillahi Ismail, who said, “The Coca-Cola Foundation has contributed over $6M in helping expand the water supply systems in Burao and Hargeisa. This is amazing work considering the company had only commenced its commercial operations a few short years ago. On behalf of the people of Somaliland, I would like to thank The Coca-Cola Foundation, SBI and their implementing partners TS, for this great work. Finally, I would appeal to the long-suffering communities to be patient as relief is in sight.”

Ahmed Osman, CEO of Somaliland Beverage Industries (SBI) remarked that, “Water is the most essential ingredient for a healthy and productive life. In the Horn of Africa and here in Somaliland, prolonged drought has impacted almost all our communities – driving many from their homes, negatively affecting the health, wellbeing, and economic potential of millions of people. As one of the largest employers in the region, Somaliland Beverage Industries is committed to the prosperity and resiliency of the communities where we operate and where our staff and customers reside. The official launch of this phase of the RAIN project in Somaliland marks another step towards our collective contribution to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and ensure access to safe drinking water for all.” Osman is COO of Somaliland Beverage Industries, a bottling plant opened by Coca-Cola in 2012, bringing thousands of jobs to the region and providing economic opportunity to millions.

Across the continent, RAIN is working to provide communities with the foundation needed to achieve Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) #6 – sustainable access to safe and affordable water and sanitation services for all. The largest program of its kind, RAIN will reach 6 million people across the continent with improved access to safe water and sanitation by 2020. To date, RAIN has reached nearly 3 million Africans across 41 countries by collaborating with over 140 leading NGOs, government institutions, and civil societies.