The Coca-Cola Company and its Foundations are making a joint donation of more than $10 million to support relief and resilience efforts to counter the severity of a famine that has swept across 10 countries in the African Sahel.
The United Nations is calling the famine the worst humanitarian crisis since 1945. Today, more than 20 million people are at severe risk of extreme hunger and malnutrition. Coca-Cola will contribute more than $1.2 million in cash and in-kind donations to immediate relief efforts, and allocate an additional $9.6 million to community resilience and strengthening programs through its Replenish Africa Initiative (RAIN).
The emergency relief donation combines $1 million from The Coca-Cola Foundation comprised of $500,000 contributed to CARE’s work in Somalia and $500,000 to eight NGO organizations that have formed the Global Emergency Response Coalition (GERC). In Somalia alone, more than 6.7 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance, of which more than 1.4 million are severely malnourished children. The remaining $200,000 will be donated through in-kind contributions by The Coca-Cola Company and its bottling partners, providing water and other beverages to those directly affected by the famine and drought.
The GERC has been uniquely formed by CARE, International Medical Corps, International Rescue Committee, Mercy Corps, Oxfam, Plan International, Save the Children and World Vision. It aims to combine efforts to address the plight of people affected in Nigeria, Yemen, South Sudan, Somalia and neighboring countries including Niger, Uganda, Chad, Cameroon, Kenya and Ethiopia.
In addition to the immediate relief efforts, The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation will direct RAIN programs to give African countries and support vulnerable communities and refugee populations with clean water, sanitation and training and programs that aim to empower women and youth. It is estimated these programs will reach almost 850,000 afflicted people in Chad, Ethiopia, Somaliland, Sudan and Uganda.
“Like many, we have been deeply saddened by the escalation of famine and drought throughout the African Sahel and we want to embrace the responsibility of the private sector to play a meaningful role alongside NGOs and governments," said Brian Smith, president, Coca-Cola Europe, Middle East and Africa. "We hope that our donations can help continue the good work that aid organizations have underway, while enabling communities to emerge strong and resilient from this crisis through the latest expansion of our flagship RAIN initiative.”