In what has been described as a timely intervention to beneficiary communities in Enugu State, The Coca Cola Foundation, TCCF, through its flagship programme, the Replenish Africa Initiative (RAIN) has launched a 300 million Naira water project in partnership with WaterAid.
The project, which will provide access to sustainable clean water, sanitation and hygiene services to over 10,000 residents in and around Nsukka, Ezeagu, Uzo-Uwani, Isiuzo and Enugu South local government areas (LGAs) in Enugu State, will be managed by Global Environment and Technology Foundation (GETF), technical partners to TCCF.
The launch which took place at Umuabor and Ugwuaji communities in Nsukka and Enugu South local government areas respectively followed weeks of strategic planning and collaboration between the lead project sponsors and other key government agencies and stakeholders such as The Small Town Water Unit, Enugu State Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agency and the Global Health Aware and Research Foundation (GHARF) among others.
In a joint statement, organisers reiterated their commitment to implement the ‘Sustainable Clean Water and Sanitation in Small Towns and Rural Areas’ project in five local government areas of Enugu State. The statement which read in part, “The strategic objective to intervene and provide suitable access to water and sanitation services is crucial to the socio-economic wellbeing of Enugu State. With recent surveys indicating very poor access rates to clean water in South East Nigeria, it has become necessary to initiate positive action to prevent further avoidable economic, health and social losses in our communities”.
In a separate commentary, WaterAid Country Director, Dr ChiChi Aniagolu-Okoye, said, “Millions of people in Nigeria are still without access to clean water, decent toilets and sanitation, and the adverse consequences on health and socio-economic well-being are glaring. There can be no development in any community or nation without access to these basic services and progress in the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6 means progress across all other sustainable development goals. This project will go a long way in improving the lives of so many in Enugu as well as contribute to the state’s economic development.” Dr Aniagolu-Okoye further stated that the scope of the project would provide about 2,250 people per day with access to clean water, refurbish 15 boreholes across benefitting communities and construct 5 new hand pump operated bore holes. An estimated 5,000 households will also receive toilet facilities along with small scale water service programmes designed to empower women and stimulate grassroots economic empowerment.
Speaking on The Coca Cola Foundation’s global commitment under its Replenish Africa Initiative (RAIN), Public Affairs & Communications Director, West Africa Business Unit, Clem Ugorji, said that projects of this scale were necessary to catalyse and improve the lifestyle and wellbeing of struggling Nigerians, especially those in rural areas. “Our commitment to the SDG goals is both in principle and in practise, and has been so for decades, as we practice what we preach by being careful stewards of such a scarce resource as water. Our strategy is to look for smarter ways to produce such that our water footprint is significantly reduced. We also ensure that our business system leverages on recycling technology to eliminate all forms of water wastage and finally under our RAIN programmes, we commit to return 100% of the water we use in our products back to nature and communities while protecting watersheds and preserving aquifers. This is why we have invested along with our partners this significant sum, which we believe very shortly will begin to yield positive and impactful results in Enugu”
The project is expected to be completed within 18 months.