NEW YORK -- Government, business and nonprofit leaders gathered this week at the Concordia Summit to champion partnerships for social impact. At the conclusion of the two-day summit, The Coca-Cola Company, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and TechoServe received the third-annual P3 Impact Award for theirs: Project Nurture.

Project Nurture launched in response to mango farmers with optimum growing conditions in East Africa facing production barriers and market challenges, as The Coca-Cola Company searched diligently to source local fruit to meet increasing consumer demand from the region’s burgeoning middle class. Recognizing a shared need and interest, Coca-Cola, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and TechnoServe partnered and set an ambitious goal to double the average income of 50,000 small-scale mango and passion fruit farmers in Uganda and Kenya, and help them connect into the Coca-Cola supply chain, which they did.

Overcoming farming challenges through the introduction of new agricultural techniques and strengthening the local and regional value chain drove demand for locally grown fruit. For Coca-Cola, this resulted in reduced costs, lead times and risks. Smallholder farmers, meanwhile, benefited from higher incomes. In total, Project Nurture worked with 54,000 farmers (nearly one-third of them women), who increased their net revenue by 142 percent, and importantly, moved toward a life without poverty. 

Project Nurture

Kate Holt/Arete

“Being chosen to receive this award is an incredible honor. On behalf of The Coca-Cola Company, I’d like to thank Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and TechnoServe for making this powerful collaboration and impactful project a reality,” said Bea Perez, Chief Sustainability Officer, The Coca-Cola Company, who accepted the award for the company and participated in a strategic dialogue on sustainable development goals during the summit. “Project Nurture has literally changed the lives of more than 50,000 farmers in Kenya and Uganda, increasing economic opportunities and strengthening the futures of entire communities.”

Commending a project manager who attended the event, Perez said, “Nobody deserves more credit and praise than Dickson Mbando, who is here with us all the way from Kenya and was on the ground doing this amazing work."

P3 Award

Dickson Mbando (left), Project Nurture program manager; Richard Rogers, senior program officer, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; Bea Perez, chief sustainability officer, The Coca-Cola Company and William Warshauer, president and CEO, TechnoServe.

Created by Concordia, the University of Virginia Darden School Institute for Business in Society, and the U.S. Department of State Secretary's Office of Global Partnerships, the P3 Impact Award recognizes and honors best practices of public-private partnerships (P3s) that are improving communities and the world in the most impactful ways. P3 Impact Award finalists included Energize the Chain, MTV Shuga, SAPARM (Satellite Assisted Pastoral Resource Management), and Sustainable Living Beyond Borders—Transforming Lives Via Health and Wellness.