CAIRO: The Coca-Cola Company and NGO CARE Egypt launched earlier this week a joint water initiative, giving access to safe drinking water to 1,200 households in the governorate of Beni Suef.
“The project will not only center on connecting households to the water network, but will strive to engage in a multifaceted and continuous process to build local capabilities, to raise hygiene and environmental awareness thereby contributing to improved community health and a better quality of life for the inhabitants of Beni Suef,” said Omar Mandour, general manager of Coca-Cola Egypt, Libya and Sudan.
In the past few years, the Egyptian government has been working on giving households access to the water network. Piped water supply has gone up from 89 percent in 1990 to 99 percent in 2006 in urban areas and in rural areas from 39 percent up to 82 percent in rural areas.
Despite this achievement, many households in Beni Suef have no access to safe water.
The Beni Suef project is going to take place over an 18-month period during which it will provide access for 7,500 people in three villages of the government, and it will approximately cost around LE 4 million.
As part of the project, they will also work with the local community on environmental and hygiene education.
CARE’s alliance with Coca-Cola aims at providing support to those with the greatest needs for water and sanitation services while ensuring that water resources are managed in a sustainable manner in order to serve future generations.
CARE Egypt Country Director Kevin Fitzcharles said he is happy to work with Coca-Cola to expand their initiative in Beni Suef and provide more access to clean water. “When seeking partnerships with other private sector actors, I regularly cite Coca-Cola’s strategic, integrated approach to water stewardship as an example that other companies could emulate,” he said.
Last April, CARE held the “Every Step Matters” mini marathon in order to raise awareness about fresh water shortages in Egypt and its unavailability in some areas. The funds raised at the event were allocated to water conservation projects in Upper Egypt. The event was sponsored by the Coca-Cola Company.
Since 1954, CARE International in Egypt has been working through a rights-based approach with the poor and marginalized, civil society, and government institutions to improve livelihoods on a sustainable basis.
It is also the second water program supported by the Coca-Cola Company as it previously worked with USAID Egypt, the Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation, UNICEF, the International Resources Group, to improve the management of liquid and solid wastes by constructing three wastewater treatment plants in Gharbeya and Luxor governorates.
The Beni Suef water project is funded by the Coca-Cola Africa Foundation’s Replenish Africa Initiative, known as RAIN, and is part of the efforts to achieve the seventh Millennium Development Goals (MDGs); “ensuring environmental sustainability,” which includes cutting the number of people without a sustainable access to safe drinking water by half by the year 2015.
RAIN was launched by the Coca-Cola Africa Foundation in 2009 in response to the challenges faced by the nearly 300 million Africans living without access to clean water. The initiative aims at providing over two million people in Africa with access to clean water by 2015.
“The Coca-Cola Company through the Coca-Cola Africa Foundation is committed to promoting the health and well-being of communities in Africa. Having access to clean water is essential for good health. We are glad to partner with CARE through RAIN, which stands out as a model of collaboration with non-governmental organizations to provide better living standards to the needy communities,” President of The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation, William Asiko, said in a press statement.