When The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation (TCCAF) announced the Replenish Africa Initiative (RAIN) in 2009, we thought setting a goal to improve sustainable access to safe water for 2 million people in Africa by the end of 2015 was bold and ambitious. Maybe it was. But, with collaboration and dedication with more than 140 global and local partners, it also was possible.
I am proud to say since RAIN’s launch, the program has reached more than 2 million people with sustainable safe water access. The sustainable part is very important. Our projects have been built with partners and designed to ensure that the local community is able to sustain the program over time and continue to benefit from the safe water access it provides. Projects are designed with modest financial structures, community members are trained on operations and maintenance, and NGO partners are available to support projects as needed.
RAIN is now the leading Pan-Africa safe water program that has the support of governments, communities and partners in 37of the 55 African countries. While we achieved our initial goal, that doesn’t mean RAIN (or safe water access challenges) have stopped. Quite the opposite: it’s time to do more.
The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation has pledged an additional US$35 million to support Pan-African safe water access programs that will bring the total number of RAIN beneficiaries to 6 million through our total investment of US$65 million by 2020.
Having reached 2 million beneficiaries is far from an accomplishment realized on our own, rather an achievement that involved collaboration with partners, including the Global Environment & Technology Foundation (GETF), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Water & Sanitation for the Urban Poor (WSUP), the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), WaterAid, Water for People and many others. Together, our partners have empowered 2,000 communities and schools through water-related programs in 37 countries.
RAIN has improved water access in communities across Africa meeting local needs. In Somaliland, RAIN helped bring safe water access to 224,000 displaced people. In schools across the continent, over 217,000 students have received safe water access and sanitation, creating healthier learning environments. In Kenya, RAIN worked with WSUP to strengthen water utility services, providing increased sustainable water access and job opportunities in the community for nearly 50,000 people.
In addition to the safe water access goals for 2020, RAIN partners aim to economically empower up to 250,000 women and youth; promote health and hygiene in thousands of communities, schools, and health centers; and replenish up to 18.5 billion liters of water to nature and communities every year.
For nearly 90 years, Coca-Cola has been part of the African community, something we’re very proud to note. Africa is a part of what Coca-Cola is made of and as long as safe water access challenges remain there, we will remain committed to helping address them.
Dr. Susan Mboya is President of The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation and Group Director of Women’s Economic Empowerment, The Coca-Cola Company.