The lack of access to safe freshwater and adequate sanitation today has far-reaching social and economic effects for vulnerable populations in Africa. 

Africa’s rising population is driving demand for water and, at the same time, it is hastening the degradation of water resources in many countries on the continent.

The implications of insufficient safe water and access to adequate sanitation are widespread. Water-related diseases such as cholera are threatening the health of communities. Women and young girls, who are primarily responsible for collecting water, are often prevented from doing income-generating work or attending school, as their day is often spent in search of this precious resource. In addition, young children can suffer from dehydration and malnutrition, which can also lead to stunting, which can impact generations to come.

The UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) #6 seeks to ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all. The United Nations states, “Water scarcity, poor water quality and inadequate sanitation negatively impact food security, livelihood choices and educational opportunities.” 

Dr. Susan Mboya and Dr. Githinji Gitahi
L-R: Dr. Susan Mboya, President of The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation, hands a US$4.25 million cheque to Dr. Githinji Gitahi, Group CEO Amref Health Africa during the launch of a new program within the scope of The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation's Replenish Africa Initiative. The initiative is aimed at improving access to water and sanitation to more than 500,000 communities in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Ethiopia over the next three years.

Africa as a whole faces a situation of economic water scarcity and current institutional, financial and human capacities for managing water are often inadequate or altogether lacking. The situation is exacerbated by competition for public funding between sectors, and heavy public debt burdens in most countries.

Water and Sanitation programme partnerships are able to bring comparative practical experience and assisting local leadership. Bringing together committed partners in such programmes can increase sustainable access to clean water and sanitation; strengthen service provider performance through improved institutions and accountability, and offer capacity support to governments and also strengthen their ability to track improvements in water, sanitation and hygiene.

In light of the above, The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation (TCCAF) has partnered with Amref Health Africa to launch an integrated water, sanitation and hygiene and livelihood project targeting communities in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia and Uganda.

Amref Health Africa in collaboration with TCCAF and local and national governments, will work closely with rural communities to improve access to, and quality of water and sanitation services.

This project is part of the Replenish Africa Initiative (RAIN), TCCAF’s flagship community program which aims to improve the lives of 6 million Africans through sustainable water access, sanitation and hygiene interventions.

The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation introduced RAIN in 2009 to help Africa achieve the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals on clean water and sanitation access.

To date, RAIN has reached more than 2.6 million people with improved water access across 37 countries. By the end of 2020, RAIN aims to measurably improve the lives of at least 6 million people in Africa through sustainable water access, sanitation and hygiene interventions.

Dr. Githinji Gitahi
Dr. Githinji Gitahi
The Amref-RAIN project will benefit more than 500,000 people; 73,200 people with improved water supply for domestic and productive purposes, 425,402 people with improved sanitation and 5,880 women and youth will be economically empowered through sanitation related businesses.

The project will leverage the Coca-Cola system’s knowledge and expertise in WASH to enhance its activities.

Amref will partner with local governments and the communities to implement this project. The government will be  responsible for ensuring the project adheres to set policies and regulations, design, implementation and review of project activities.

Dr. Githinji Gitahi is group chief executive officer of ‎Amref Health Africa.