In India, a group of boys runs across the school playground to quench
their thirst after spending a hot afternoon in the sun. They relish the cool,
fresh water from the neat row of drinking water taps.
Half way across the world, a Ugandan girl
learns to wash her hands with soap under a tap in her school,
instead of at the local pond. In Cambodia, a man from the Praek Thmei region
reads a notice board that tells him which local source of water is pure enough
to drink, while teenage girls in Pakistan clean up their local beaches.
All of these people share one thing in common. They are all impacted by, and benefit from, a partnership between The Coca-Cola Company and UN-HABITAT. From providing improved access to clean drinking water and sanitation, to augmenting ground water with rainwater harvesting techniques and solid waste management, the two partners are collaborating to build sustainable communities. Launched in 2007 by Coca-Cola India, this now-global partnership not only improves access to safe water and sanitation, but also mobilizes stakeholders from government, businesses and civil society to come together and promote water and well-being.
At the recent World Urban Forum in Colombia, Coke and UN-HABITAT announced the 12th country which will benefit from the program: Southern Sudan. The other 11 countries are India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Cambodia, Vietnam, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania and Bhutan.
More than 10,000 people attended WUF-7 in Colombia.
UN-HABITAT convenes the World Urban Forum to examine the most pressing issues in the area of human settlements. With more than 10,000 participants representing 160 countries, the forum provided the perfect platform to discuss the “Golden Triangle Approach to Equity and Development.”
A panel discussion moderated in English by Professor
Saswat Bandyopadhyay of the Center for
Environmental Planning and Technology, India, and in Spanish by Marcos Llinas, senior manager, PAC-Columbia, featured a slate of
eminent speakers including Aminath Athifa, Minister of State for Housing
and Infrastructure, Maldives; Alka S Asthana, director, Ministry of
Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation, India; Dionisio Velez, mayor of Cartagena,
Colombia; Deepak Jolly, vice president, public affairs and communications, Coca-Cola India and South West Asia; and Andre Dzikus, chief of water and sanitation, UN-HABITAT.
Dzikus announced the extension of the partnership to Southern Sudan, which represents the fourth country in Africa to join the initiative and the 12th country worldwide. The panel discussion was attended by more than 100 people, including prominent officials from the water and sanitation field, who discussed the importance of safe water in schools and communities and discussed ways in which the Golden Triangle of business, government and civil society can come together to renew and expand the focus on water, sanitation and hygiene. A brochure titled the "Power of Partnerships” also launched, highlighting initiatives the two partners have launched in each country.
Coca-Cola launched the Support My School Campaign in India, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal, with a focus on improving access to water and sanitation; rainwater harvesting; and fostering a learning environment in schools. The partners also are working to establish a sewage network in Bhutan, renewing access to potable water through rain water harvesting in Sri Lanka, and improving water and environmental sanitation in Pakistan. In Cambodia and Vietnam, meanwhile, community-based water projects focus on improving national drinking water quality standards, while in Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania, the Replenish Africa Initiative (RAIN) provides access to safe drinking water as well as basic sanitation and hygiene to improve the health of children and contribute to a clean and healthy environment.
More on Journey
- More Than 3 Million Liters of Water Delivered to Support Peru Flood Victims
- Water for Life: Youth-based NGO Raleigh Borneo and Coca-Cola Malaysia Provide Clean Water to Rural Communities in Sabah
- A Q&A With Johanna Pramstaller, Special Olympics Global Messenger
- 10 Years of Switching Off: How Earth Hour Became a Global Movement
- A Media Trip That Changed My Life