PepsiCo Foundation facilitates access to water, safe sanitation in South Africa

Government Higher Primary School, Anandnagar. Head mistress - Beige Sari Earlier, they couldn't drink the water that was coming from the wells - just by looking at it they could tell. They would have to store water - and the children who worked on cleaning the tanks etc were missing classes. Some children would bring drinking water from home. But run out in summer, so would go home, and not return. But now because there is a water supply in school, children's academics have improved because they are able to stay in school for longer, according to the HM. Earlier, they had to call for tanker water - and there were no funds for this, so teh HM would pay from her own salary. She had to ensure there was water because it is required to make the mid day meal. And if even 1 day is missed, the HM can get suspended, and children will not come. They need water for: Toilets Drinking Cooking If the toilets were too dirty because of lack of water, the children were sent home.

SOUTH AFRICA – PepsiCo through its philanthropic arm, PepsiCo Foundation is seeking to invest R6m (US$394,700) in water and sanitation projects in South Africa.

Currently, over three million people do not have access to basic water supply service in the country, and 14.1 million people do not have access to safe sanitation, reports BizCommunity.

The program launched by the food company will focus on availing affordable washing units in homes, handwashing stations in high-density areas and water-saving flush toilets, to the rehabilitation of natural springs.

It is part of PepsiCo’s sustainability agenda targeting to reach 100 million people with safe water access by 2030.

“PepsiCo is deeply committed to supporting the foundation’s social development efforts and being a positive force in all the communities in which we operate.”

PepsiCo Sub-Saharan Africa CEO – Tertius Carstens

The foundation has been working since 2006 to deliver safe water access to people around the world, and in 2016 it set a goal to reach 25 million people by 2025.

This goal has already been surpassed as the organization is now helping more than 44 million people gain access to safe water through distribution, purification and conservation programmes.

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It led to PepsiCo formulating the new 2030 goal which will be focusing on near-term efforts on water distribution, sanitation, and hygiene.

“PepsiCo is deeply committed to supporting the foundation’s social development efforts and being a positive force in all the communities in which we operate,” said PepsiCo Sub-Saharan Africa CEO, Tertius Carstens.

“PepsiCo is a leader when it comes to advancing a sustainable and equitable food system, with a key focus on water access, infrastructure and hygiene, and we’re excited to contribute to some excellent South African initiatives as we close in on that 100 million goal.”

The project is timely as this year, the most pressing need of maintaining a supply of clean water and building infrastructure in communities has been exacerbated by the devastation caused by Covid-19.

In light of the pandemic, efforts will focus on water distribution, sanitation, and hygiene programmes in a bid to curb the spread of the virus.

Sustainability experts from PepsiCo Sub-Saharan Africa will be overseeing the day-to-day rollout and management of the programmes.

They will also work in partnership with other organizations like National Business Initiative (NBI), World-Wide Fund for Nature (WWF-SA), Save our Schools (SOS) and the Water Research Commission (WRC).

This holistic programme marks the inaugural investment of the foundation into sub-Saharan Africa following its acquisition of Pioneer Foods earlier in the year.

The US$1.7bn (R25.52bn) deal was one of the snack-food giant’s biggest investments outside the USA and is geared towards helping PepsiCo gain a solid beachhead for expansion into Sub-Saharan Africa.

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