The Coca-Cola Company has partnered with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Pakistan for “New World: Integrated water resource management for food security, safe drinking water and sanitation services” program, focused towards community water stewardship and adaptation to climate change. Under this USD 150,000 program, Coca-Cola will partner with Mountain & Glacier Protection Organization (MGPO), for integrated water resource management, safe drinking water and sanitation services in Gilgit-Baltistan.

The partner organization, MGPO, is a social welfare not-for-profit organization established in 2001 and certified by the Pakistan Centre for Philanthropy. MGPO programs are designed to enhance the quality of life of disadvantaged communities through empowerment and socially inclusive approaches to reduce vulnerability and build resilience by helping communities to access resources and services through sustainable actions for safeguarding their social, economic and environmental security. Aisha Khan, Chief Executive Officer of MGPO, has been working towards water stewardship projects since a decade now, and the recent partnership with Coca-Cola, the socially responsible Company, is a reciprocator for the promising deliverables of Ms. Khan’s projects.   

This project is in line with the Company’s CSR portfolio approach, allowing for expansion of the global and local outreach in regard to water stewardship, thus targeting 100% water replenishment goal by 2020. The target area of this project is Siksa Village in Gilgit, whose livelihood is solely dependent on agriculture and tourism. The local community is at a high risk because of the remote location and due to harsh weather conditions. There is no pipe irrigation system currently in the area which provides clean drinking water and sanitation facilities. This does not only affect the local people but it has detrimental effect on soil and cultivation.

Acknowledging this partnership, Rizwan U. Khan, General Manager, Coca-Cola, Pakistan and Afghanistan said “I am pleased to welcome MGPO in partnering with Coca-Cola Pakistan to not just provide water management services in Siksa Village, but to develop a community participation based infrastructure that will continue to provide life-changing socio-economic uplift to the beneficiaries and local communities. The idea is to create shared value through sustainable development.” 

The disastrous floods of 2010 affected areas all across Pakistan, and precisely with relevance to MGPO project, hundreds of houses at a district Ganche in Gilgit were destroyed. Ever since 2010, the locals of Gilgit have invested a lot towards the rehabilitation of their communities, but lack of diligence and guidance made them construct houses close to water banks, which is highly dangerous because of the risk of river overflow during summers. Coca-Cola, along with MGPO will apprise the locals about the geographical aesthetics that are important whilst planning community’s habitat. 

Houses in Ganche, Gilgit destroyed by floods
Houses in Ganche, Gilgit destroyed by floods

Acknowledging this partnership, Rizwan U. Khan, General Manager, Coca-Cola, Pakistan and Afghanistan said “I am pleased to welcome MGPO in partnering with Coca-Cola Pakistan to not just provide water management services in Siksa Village, but to develop a community participation based infrastructure that will continue to provide life-changing socio-economic uplift to the beneficiaries and local communities. The idea is to create shared value through sustainable development.”

The on-site work will start in April 2016, which will include construction of pipe irrigation system and water beds. Later stages of the project would incorporate regular monitoring and maintenance of the pipe irrigation system.  Targeted outputs of this project also include irrigation of 355 hectares of land, installation of 17 water points for sustainable access to safe drinking water and sanitation services for 4,000 people. This project will also help empower 1,400 women and 500 youth with opportunity to earn livelihood through completion of this project. Women will be encouraged to take part in decision making and community meetings throughout the implementation of this project.

Under ‘New World’ Partnership, Coca-Cola & UNDP have rehabilitated over 100 schools in Islamabad & Rawalpindi, by providing separate washrooms for females and significantly improving the conditions of playgrounds in these schools. An estimated 20,000 females students and 5000 existing students will continue to benefit from this program. MGPO is another imperative brick to the existing paramount of corporate social responsibility held by the Coca-Cola Company.