KENYA – The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation (TCCAF) and Amref Health Africa have officially launched a partnership that will sustainably improve the health and enable the economic empowerment of more than 500,000 people in Eastern Africa.

The partnership that is targeted at communities living in a number of locations in Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda will provide improved access to safe water and sanitation as well as economic empowerment through income generating opportunities.

The partnership is part of TCCAF’s Replenish Africa Initiative (RAIN), which aims to reach at least 6 million people throughout Africa with improved and sustainable access to safe water.

Talking during the unveiling of the partnership, Dr. Susan Mboya, the President of TCCAF said that the RAIN project has already had huge impact in several communities since it’s launch in 2010, with a renewed commitment in 2016 worth US$35 million.

“Water is the most essential ingredient for a healthy and productive life. In sub-Saharan Africa, and here in East Africa, drought impacts many of our communities, making access to safe water for drinking and water for productive uses such as agriculture, a constant worry for many people.

“We recognize the urgency of these issues and that is why The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation has taken this step through the RAIN program to contribute to achieve the SDGs and ensure access to safe drinking water for all.”

The partnership with Amref Health Africa is aimed at increasing access to water and safe sanitation and hygiene; and increasing livelihood opportunities for women and youth while addressing the gaps to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The project locations include Kitui West in Kitui County in Kenya; Benishangul-Gumuz in western Ethiopia; Serengeti District in Northern Tanzania and Kawempe Division in the suburbs of Kampala in Uganda.

The funding of US$4.2 million from TCCAF, will facilitate Amref to work with local and national governments in these locations, adopting a systems-wide approach to implement key project activities including multiple-use water services, community-led total sanitation, as well as waste management and horticulture to generate income for women and youth.

The project runs from February 2017 to February 2020.

“Development needs a big shift in thinking, from just building infrastructure to creating and strengthening institutions through innovation and entrepreneurship.

We know that the lasting health and economic benefits of water, sanitation and hygiene are optimised under conditions of full and sustainable access to these services,” added Dr. Githinji Gitahi, Group CEO, Amref Health Africa.

Professor Fred H. K. Segor, Principal Secretary, State Department for Water Services, Ministry of Water & Irrigation who was among the key guests at the ceremony remarked that despite government efforts to provide water and sanitation services, a lot still needs to be done to avail water and sanitation to everyone, and that the involvement of the private sector is lauded.

“With this project, our goal to reach full and reliable access to safe drinking water for the residents of Kitui will be achieved,” he said.