The Coca-Cola Company and WaterHealth International (WHI) have announced a plan to bring safe drinking water to one million school children in 2,000 schools in developing countries by the end of 2015.
The Child With Water (CWW) program aims to deliver 500 million liters of safe drinking water a year to school children through water-purification systems installed, operated and maintained by WHI. Currently operating more than 500 plants in five countries, WHI provides safe drinking water access to about 5 million people.
Coca-Cola also announced it has taken a minority equity ownership in WHI. The investment will further support the scale up of WaterHealth’s model to provide safe water to underserved communities and accelerate the placement of new WaterHealth Centers and CWW programs globally.
The first installations are set to begin in this month, Coca-Cola says.
The WHI investment is latest in Coca-Cola’s wider efforts to increase access to safe drinking water in the developing world. In 2013, Coca Cola partnered with WaterAid to increase accessibility to safe drinking water for one of the poorest suburbs of Burkina Faso’s capital city of Ouagadougou and in two rural communities in southern Ethiopia. The partnership involves working with the local community and water utility in Burkina Faso to extend existing water pipelines and install new water points that provide residents with clean, treated drinking water. This will help residents reduce the risk of contracting waterborne diseases that are highly prevalent in the area, such as bacterial diarrhea, Hepatitis A and Typhoid fever. It also will reduce the substantial amount of time women and girls spend walking to get water each day, and open up the possibility for them to use the time to attend school, earn an income or care for their children and families.
Scandinavian think tank Sustainia named WaterHealth International to the 2012 Sustainia 100, its annual list of the 100 solutions that can bring about a sustainable society.