On the occasion of World Water Day, March 22nd , Coca-Cola is announcing a new investment of $250,000 to support access to clean water and dignified sanitation in 12 schools throughout Kicukiro district.
This investment leverages significant previous invest-ment by The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation (TCCAF) and Brasseries et Limonaderies du Rwanda (Bralirwa), Coca-Cola’s local bottling partner, in water programs in Rwanda. This program will reach an additional 13,000 people with access to safe water and sanitation.
In Rwanda, access to clean water is considered a right for every citizen and one that the incumbent government has time and again prioritized in its agenda of transforming the country socioeconomically. Recognizing that the challenge of ensuring safe water access for all Rwandans is an enormous task, leading private companies have joined hands with the government and civil society to work together to improve water access for Rwanda.
Notably efforts made in constructing water supply infrastructure and improving efficient use of the water resource have paid off. Currently, Rwanda has over 77 percent access to clean water nationwide. Additionally the prevalence of sanitation in private and public space is recorded at 71 percent as per Ministry of Infrastructure statistics. Concurrent with its core values of “respect to the communities in which it operates and improving the lives of people” Rwanda’s largest Brewery and one of the country’s biggest corporate citizens, Bralirwa has proudly and audibly contributed towards the noble cause of availing clean water to the Rwandan community.
TCCAF, in partnership with Bralirwa, has invested over $300,000 to improve water access and sanitation in Rwanda. This investment is a part of TCCAF’s pan-African Replenish Africa Initiative (RAIN) initiative. Backed by a six-year, $30 million dollar commitment by The Coca-Cola Company, in partnership with other donors, RAIN’s goal is to provide over 2 million people in Africa with access to drinking water by 2015.
In Rwanda, RAIN has previously supported
the work of Water for People, an intern-atonal non-governmental organization. The past work included transforming the learning environment for 300 students, directly supporting the country’s future. By providing water and sanitation in schools, students are able to focus on their studies instead of where they will collect water from.
Coca-Cola also partnered with Water For People to support water throughout several vulnerable communities. The work was focused throughout Kicukiro district, where Bralirwa’s soft drink plant is situated.
In more than three years of partnership, Water for People has implemented four projects in Kicukiro district of the City of Kigali. The undertakings are categorized either as water catchment systems for communities of vulnerable societies, construction of water supply systems, or sanitation and rain harvesting projects in public institutions most especially schools. During the period, the four projects implemented in the district have benefited over 30,000 lives, over 3,000 of who are school going children.
According to Sebastien Ngomanziza the Project Officer at Water for People Rwanda, the implemented projects so far include close to 70km of water supply infrastructure the organization has spearheaded in Gahanga, Masaka and Nyamirama sectors in Kicukiro.
Also three public schools have benefited from the sanitation activities with eco toilets constructed to guarantee hygiene and thus good health for school populations whereas numerous communities of vulnerable members of society including the Murinja and Gako settlements, benefited from water catchment and rain harvesting instruments. In the new program, 12 additional schools are slated to benefit by end of year 2015 while another settlement of vulnerable persons, Rusheshe, will receive rainwater catchment and harvesting equipment including gutters and tanks.
This new commitment is expected to reach over 13,000 people, with the majority being students. Explaining the mode of operation, Ngomanziza noted that TCCAF’s RAIN initiative, through Water for People, works closely with local authorities, residents and Rwanda’s Energy, Water and Sanitation Authority (EWSA) throughout these projects. For rainwater catchment and harvesting projects, RAIN supports close to 90 percent of the budget through RAIN, with the rest being borne by local authorities.
But just as Ngabonziza continuously emphasized, the intentions of such interventions is to ensure access to clean water and sanitation facilities to “everyone and forever”. “The ’everyone’ objective is nearing achievement for Kicukiro district but as in many projects, sustainability remains the question and this is what is addressed in the “forever” part of the slogan of Water for People’s operations.”
He added that, “We follow up on all the projects regularly to make sure they continue to operate and bear intended fruits of improving the welfare of communities. In doing so, we have local partners located in the various communities who we have been trained on maintenance of all the projects,” Ngabonziza said. Undoubtedly, the urge for sustainable support falls squarely into Bralirwa and The Coca-Cola Company’s own philosophy of sustainability.