The Coca-Cola Co., Atlanta, and The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation announced that $6 million will be dedicated to water and sanitation partnerships aimed at improving the lives of an estimated 250,000 women and girls on the African continent. The announcement was made as part of a leadership event on World Water Day, which included remarks from U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and World Bank President Robert Zoellick.
Through the organization Rain, which will provide at least 2 million people with access to safe drinking water and sanitation by 2015, Coca-Cola’s contribution will have an impact on women and girls in African countries, including Algeria, Kenya, Liberia, Morocco, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Tunisia, and Uganda.
In addition, in 2011, Rain will continue to support multi-year initiatives being implemented through the Water and Development Alliance, Coca-Cola's partnership with United States Agency for International Development in Angola, Burundi, Egypt, Ghana, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa and Tanzania.
"The water and sanitation crisis affects billions of people every day, but the impact on women and girls is particularly devastating," said Muhtar Kent, chairman and chief executive officer of The Coca-Cola Co., in a statement. "Supporting initiatives that promote access to water for women and girls is a building block for community health with a ripple effect on social and economic empowerment. This is a win-win for everyone."
Providing access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene is critical for creating healthy communities around the world. The World Health Organization estimates that African women and children spend up to 40 billion hours collecting water each year; time that could otherwise be spent learning, working and caring for their families. Because of the distance many women are required to travel to retrieve clean water, they often resort to using unsafe surface water sources, putting themselves and their families at risk of life-threatening diseases.