My organization, Global Environment & Technology Foundation (GETF), has been hard at work for over 30 years cultivating and managing partnerships that empower local communities through private sector water stewardship and sustainability efforts. As a long-term and trusted partner of Coca-Cola, GETF manages The Coca-Cola Foundation’s flagship water stewardship program, the Replenish Africa Initiative (RAIN) and its award-winning partnership with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the Water and Development Alliance (WADA). In the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), GETF has partnered with the regional Coca-Cola business unit to create shared-value projects that positively transform communities. View the Coca-Cola Story Map for the water stewardship projects in MENA by clicking here

COMMUNITY COMMITMENTS
During my time at GETF, I have had the distinct pleasure of collaborating with local teams from across The Coca-Cola System. I have witnessed firsthand the dedication and community commitment of these teams, comprised of the very people hailing from and living in the communities where Coca-Cola products are sold and bottled. Coca-Cola is a company committed to nourishing its community roots and ensuring that their operations are sensitive to each community’s needs and development opportunities.

A critical component of this commitment is to create shared value for communities by protecting and conserving the natural resources which belong to them. Water is the number one ingredient in any Coca-Cola product, and Coca-Cola is the world’s largest total beverage company. With this comes a serious responsibility, a responsibility Coca-Cola is committed to through their water stewardship efforts to return, or replenish, water to nature and communities in an amount equal to what is used in their finished beverages.

In just two years, Coca-Cola in the MENA and Pakistan region intensified its efforts to increase the volume of water it returns to nature and communities by 277%. Coca-Cola reached its global replenish goal in 2016, but in some regions, making these strides was more challenging, especially in the water-scarce Middle East. Thanks to targeted local effort and investments, Coca-Cola has accelerated its progress towards returning an amount of water equal to what it uses in its finished beverages back to local communities and the environment in the MENA and Pakistan region.

This regional achievement is critically important, as communities in the MENA region are some of the most water stressed in the world, with that stress forecasted to grow in the coming decade. Currently, over 60 percent of the MENA region’s population lives in areas with high or very high surface water stress, compared to a global average of about 35 percent. By returning water to communities and to nature, Coca-Cola is creating shared opportunities for the places it calls home in the world’s most water-stressed region, empowering them to thrive.

In light of Egypt’s increasing water scarcity, Coca-Cola collaborated with local governments and community organizations through the WADA partnership to empower the water utility provider in the Sohag governorate to implement leak detection and meter repair measures – leading to improved water access for 24,000 people in communities along the Nile River.

In Pakistan, polio, which is spread through contaminated water, remains a critical public health challenge and communities are often forced to risk the use of contaminated water sources or spend many hours traveling far to find purified water. In response to this, The Coca-Cola Foundation, through its New World Program (NWP), is partnering with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Pakistan and Rotary Pakistan PolioPlus Committee to provide safe water for more than 215,000 people using solar-powered filtration systems.

In Iraq, The Coca-Cola Foundation partnered with UNDP to save water through emergency repairs to water networks and provided sustainable water access to rural communities through the installation of water pumps. To ensure these networks and water sources remain operational, 200 local community members were trained in water network maintenance, leak detection and water treatment best practices and an additional 150 people were provided with training on water risk mitigation techniques.

COMMITTING TO THE FUTURE

Returning water back to nature and communities across the MENA and Pakistan region is a testament to Coca-Cola’s commitment to the communities where they operate. This is an initiative that Coca-Cola intends to strengthen in the coming years (and one we are proud to champion), as water scarcity accelerates due to population growth and climate change.

Putting this commitment to action, Coca-Cola has rolled out an ambitious portfolio of new projects being funded through US$5 million in local investments. Over the coming years, these community partnerships with leading development groups such as USAID, UNDP, Rotary International and others will transform communities across Algeria, Egypt, Gaza, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Pakistan and Sudan.

By proactively combining the power of Coca-Cola’s global brand and its local ties with the expertise of premier development groups well versed in delivering sustainable solutions to water scarcity, these projects will uplift communities and create shared opportunity across the MENA region for years to come.

Article by: – By Sarah Dahnke, Program Director, Middle East and North Africa Region at the Global Environment & Technology Foundation (GETF)

My organization, Global Environment & Technology Foundation (GETF), has been hard at work for over 30 years cultivating and managing partnerships that empower local communities through private sector water stewardship and sustainability efforts. As a long-term and trusted partner of Coca-Cola, GETF manages The Coca-Cola Foundation’s flagship water stewardship program, the Replenish Africa Initiative (RAIN) and its award-winning partnership with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the Water and Development Alliance (WADA). In the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), GETF has partnered with the regional Coca-Cola business unit to create shared-value projects that positively transform communities.

About GETF:
The Global Environment & Technology Foundation (GETF), established in 1988, is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based near Washington, DC with a mission to promote sustainable development through partnerships and targeted action. GETF seeks to shape a brighter future for communities and the environment by developing innovative strategic plans, creating high-impact partnerships, introducing new technologies and managing programs that have a lasting and positive impact on the world.