Coca-Cola and the Coca-Cola Africa Foundation have announced a $6 million commitment to support water and sanitation programs with the potential to improve the lives of about 250,000 women and girls in twelve African countries.
Awarded through the company's Replenish Africa Initiative (RAIN), which seeks to provide at least two million people with access to safe drinking water and sanitation by 2015, the funding will support programs in Algeria, Kenya, Liberia, Morocco, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Tunisia, and Uganda. In 2011, RAIN also will continue its support for multiyear initiatives implemented through the Water and Development Alliance, a partnership between Coca-Cola and the United States Agency for International Development in Angola, Burundi, Egypt, Ghana, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, and Tanzania.
According to the World Health Organization, African women and children spend up to forty billion hours a year collecting water. Because the distance they must travel to retrieve clean water is often great, women frequently resort to using unsafe water sources, putting themselves and their families at risk of life-threatening diseases. Indeed, data from the United Nations finds that an African child dies every fifteen seconds from a waterborne disease.
"The water and sanitation crisis affects billions of people every day, but the impact on women and girls is particularly devastating," said Coca-Cola chairman and CEO Muhtar Kent. "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."