In response to World Water Week in Stockholm last month, our partner, World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) is hosting a water series on their blog On Balance to continue the conversation. Several different partners will be sharing their perspectives, and we're helping spread those stories here on Unbottled..
With 768 million people living without clean drinking water around the world, many people think that we just need more money to solve the world’s water crisis.
Recently, I was in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso to launch a new project between The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation and WaterAid that is making safe drinking water a reality for people living in one of the poorest suburbs of the nation’s capital. Our extensive meetings included people from Coca-Cola and WaterAid from both the United States and Burkina Faso, a local government official, people from our local NGO partner, and representatives from the local water utility company, all together, at the same table. It’s not a surprise that the word local comes through three times in that sentence; that’s where and how projects can thrive and people feel responsible; that’s where change happens. At the table in Ouagadougou, our conversations took place in both English and French to make sure that everyone understood their role, and agreed to be accountable for their responsibilities. The investment is not just on the side of the funder, it’s from everyone at the table – the funders and recipients alike.
Annie Bonner is Manager of Corporate Relations at WaterAid America
Hear more about Annie's trip to Africa, facts about the money spent each year to provide clean drinking water and more on solving the water crisis, find the rest of this post on WWF's On Balance.
In Burkina Faso, Coca-Cola and WaterAid are working with the local community and water utility 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 will also reduce the staggering amount of time that women and girls spend walking to get water each day, and open the possibility for them to instead attend school, earn an income, or care for their children and families.
Across the continent, Coca-Cola and WaterAid are helping 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 Ethiopia. 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.
Our partnership with Water Aid supports our Replenish Africa Initiative (RAIN) to bring safe water access to 6 million Africans by 2020.
WaterAid also partners with Coca-Cola in Latin America and the FEMSA Foundation (a Foundation funded by FEMSA – a Coca-Cola bottling partner), along with other critical implementing partners, on Lazos de Agua, or Water Links, a $12.3 million program to bring new and improved WASH programs to more than 110,000 people in some of the poorest regions of Colombia, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, and Nicaragua over the next three years.
WaterAid is an international organization working to transform lives by providing safe water access, hygiene and sanitation to people without it in the developing world. They currently have programs in some of the world’s poorest communities across 37 countries. Since its inception, WaterAid has brought safe water access to 21 million people and sanitation to 18 million people.