Today, the world’s attention is focused on water—and cooperation.  After all, it’s World Water Day, a day to recognize the importance of fresh water and advocate for the sustainable management of this precious resource.  The United Nations has identified ‘cooperation’ as this year’s focus, emphasizing the critical importance of collaboration in order for this shared resource to fulfill a spectrum of needs for a diverse and global community.  

At Coca-Cola, we understand the importance of local water sources to ecosystems, communities and our business; and we realize the power of collaboration in solving global issues related to water, which is why we continue to support and participate in water access, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) initiatives.  And, why today, at the U.S. Department of State, we will be talking about The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation Foundation's  (TCCAF) flagship program, Replenish Africa Initiative (RAIN) latest investment.

As part of the U.S. Water Partnership's (USWP) World Water Day events, The Coca-Cola Company’s Director of Global Water Stewardship, Greg Koch, will co-present with Carl Sangree, senior director of the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), to share how two USWP partners are working together to solve water challenges at scale.

TCCAF and MCC have developed a partnership that leverages MCC’s $41.8 million investments in WASH initiatives in Cape Verde.  Through RAIN, TCCAF has pledged an investment of US $400,000 to help up to 20,000 low-income households, including many women-led households, gain access to clean water and improved sanitation.  TCCAF also intends to invest elsewhere in Africa alongside MCC.  We aim for our investment to help broaden MCC’s development impact and reach. To learn more about this partnership, read the press release here.

In addition to leading the USWP WASH initiative, we are working with other USWP members to collectively address water challenges through water stewardship efforts, which is one of the ways we’re deepening our overall community water partnership (CWP) program. 

Since 2005, we have conducted 462 CWP projects in more than 90 countries. Projects include watershed protection, community water access, rainwater harvesting, reforestation and agricultural water use efficiency.  We and our partners have invested nearly $250 million over the last five years for these projects with hundreds of organizations globally, including WWF, USAID , The Nature Conservancy, CARE, and UNDP.  To date, our initiatives for improving water access and sanitation alone have benefitted more than 1.8 million people.

Through our experience, water and cooperation achieve far greater results than any one organization, business or government working alone.  While World Water Day is only one day, our hope is that the awareness raised, issues discussed, solutions proposed, and partnerships formed will contribute to a more sustainable world every day.

The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation

William Asiko is President of The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation.