Building on significant efforts to help address the Ebola crisis, and to create a unified and integrated approach to Ebola, on Sept. 30 The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation (TCCAF), Liberia Coca-Cola Bottling Company (LCCBC) and Equatorial Coca-Cola Bottling Company, along with Business Link Humanitarian Aid, Global Communities, and Plan International, joined community members of Monrovia to celebrate progress and the expansion of the Bolstering Africa’s Resilience (BAR) initiative in Liberia.

Through programs focused on water, health, economic empowerment, and the education and welfare of children who have lost their families, BAR works to ensure long-term regional growth, prosperity and stability. Program components include increased access to community water supply and sanitation services, business skills training and economic opportunities for women and youth, health system strengthening, and reintegration of vulnerable children, particularly orphans.

BAR efforts to build resilience to Ebola began in 2015 through two programs in partnership with a local Liberian civil society organization, Business Link, to economically empower 1,000 women and to provide financial and mentoring support to 500 schoolgirls. In 2016, BAR continues to expand its impact in Liberia by improving access to safe drinking water for over 60,000 rural people and supporting improved access to sanitation services and products for schools, communities and water, sanitation and hygiene entrepreneurs.

“Ebola is a complex issue which requires a structured, comprehensive and integrated intervention for sustainable impact to be realized,” remarked Dorcas Onyango, Director of Programs and Partnerships, The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation. “We’re proud to work with BAR to create effective partnerships to help respond to Ebola.”

The Coca-Cola system has been working to develop solutions that help mitigate the impact of the Ebola crisis. The system has provided expertise, improved logistics and medical supplies to help protect and support employees and families, and assist communities through enhancement of the health system and protection of health workers. In total, the Coca-Cola system—including The Coca-Cola Company, its Foundations and local Coca-Cola bottling partners—have contributed more than US$1.25 million to Ebola response and relief efforts in West Africa.

“BAR is a great example of how the Coca Cola system can make tremendous impacts in the communities where we operate when business, government and civil society come together for common cause. This program will leave a lasting impact on Liberia,” said Wendell Wilson, Manager of Public Affairs and Communications, Equatorial Coca-Cola Bottling Company.

“To truly aid a community, we must be a part of that community,” said Seth Adu-Baah, Country Director for the Liberian Coca-Cola Bottling Company (LCCBC). “With the BAR program, LCCBC is proud to have worked with Business Link to provide women with the skills and means to empower themselves and help children affected by Ebola return to school through the generous support of The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation. As the Coca-Cola system, we look forward to continuing to build our communities with Plan and Global Communities in the coming year.”