Kolkata, 12 August 2015: TERI University and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in association with Coca Cola and The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) today launched the ‘Strengthening Water and Sanitation in Urban Settings” initiative in Kolkata. The WASH programmes (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) aim to reach 50,000 beneficiaries in low-income settlements and over 300 professionals through WASH governance studies. It will also reach out to 2,500 students through 20 municipal schools across India.

 The goal is to help achieve the Government of India’s sanitation targets by conducting a WASH risk analysis in slums of Kolkata and Chennai. As first steps, two urban neighbourhoods – Kannagi Nagar and Nedunchelliyan Nagar in Chennai, and areas in KMC wards 57 and 58 (Khayari basti, Arupota and Dhapa) in Kolkata – have been chosen for household surveys.

 The project will assist in developing participatory intervention strategies in urban areas, and in building the capacity of faculty and students through a model sanitation curriculum.

Andrew Posner, Acting Consul General, US Consulate, Kolkata, said, “Providing access to clean water and sanitation to all is one of the stated missions of the USAID. In India, this objective gains even more significance as 1,400 children die every day in the country due to diseases linked to lack of clean water and sanitation facilities. Through the launch of this project, we aim to create a talented pool of professionals who can develop innovative models to support the Government of India’s urban development programs including the Swachh Bharat Mission, the Smart City Initiative and the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT).”

Deepak Jolly, Vice President Public Affairs & Communications, Coca-Cola India & South West Asia said, “Water is central not only to The Coca-Cola Company’s business but to the communities it serves. We believe that this partnership and the WASH initiative will demonstrate and scale innovative water and sanitation initiatives in India’s largest urban centers. This partnership also brings together the Golden Triangle of government, business and civil society with academia and we hope that it will lead in the field of water governance.”

Speaking at the occasion, Dr. Leena Srivastava, Vice Chancellor, TERI University, said, “Students of today will be the drivers of change tomorrow. Through this competition centered on water management, we hope to create a consciousness in India’s future leaders on the need for collaborative, systemic, and sustainable solutions to complex problems.”

 Dr. Syamal Kumar Sarkar, Director, Water Resources, TERI said, “Open defecation is a menace in India, be it in urban areas or in rural areas. Its impact on health is direct but not many awareness generation programmes are visible. In the case of water supply, while achievement relating to access to household is praiseworthy, the quality of such water supply in terms of frequency and contamination is still a big issue even in the urban areas. Sustainable water supply and sanitation measures to every Indian household would call for a mobilisation of efforts at a large scale at all levels, albeit the government’s efforts.”

The WASH initiative will involve target groups as co-researchers; promote behavioral change; and upgrade researchers’ skills.

The key objectives are as follows:

  • Conduct a comprehensive WASH-related risk analysis of health impacts in Kolkata and Chennai.
  • Develop and implement participatory intervention strategies in selected urban areas that engage all potential stakeholders and facilitate adoption of measures to reduce WASH-related risks, trigger behavioural changes, and support long-term participatory interaction among stakeholders.
  • Build and catalyse capacities in faculty, students, and decision makers to help address the challenges related to sanitation and health and their engagement in action research with the intent of finding replicable solutions to the sanitation problems.

A key activity planned under the project includes ‘Inter University Competition on Water Resources Management’. Top schools from across the country that are participating in the programme include Lady Shriram, Gargi College, NIT, Hindu College, among others.

 About USAID:

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) works to end extreme poverty and promote resilient, democratic societies.  USAID is an independent government agency that provides economic, development, and humanitarian assistance around the world in support of the foreign policy goals of the United States. Leveraging India’s growing financial and human resources, USAID is harnessing the strengths and capabilities of both countries to tackle development challenges not only in India, but worldwide. This approach to development is built on leveraging the expertise, innovations, and resources of the United States and India to tackle the most pressing challenges of our day, from infectious diseases to food security and climate change. USAID partners with India to address these and other challenges through the U.S. Government’s Feed the Future, Global Health, and Global Climate Change initiatives. In all sectors of its activities, USAID builds private sector partnerships to foster in-country sustainability and ownership, with a focus on issues such as health, urban water and sanitation, food security, climate change, early grade reading, and women’s empowerment as a cross-cutting issue.

About Coca-Cola and Citizenship

The Coca-Cola Company has always placed high value on good citizenship. At the heart of business is a mission statement called the Coca-Cola Promise — “The Coca-Cola Company exists to benefit and refresh everyone that it touches.” This basic proposition means that the company’s business should refresh the markets, protect, preserve and enhance the environment and strengthen the community. Coca-Cola India provides extensive support for community programs across the country, with a focus on education, health and water conservation. For further information on Company’s India operations and its products, please visit www.coca-colaindia.com

About TERI:

TERI is an independent, not-for-profit research institute focused on energy, environment, and sustainable development and devoted to efficient and sustainable use of natural resources. Since its inception in 1974, TERI has emerged as an institution of excellence for its path-breaking research, and is a global brand widely respected by political leaders, policy makers, corporate entities as well as the civil society at large.

Coca-Cola Department of Regional Water Studies

TERI University, devoted to education for sustainable development and the Coca-Cola Company, committed to invest its resources to maintain vibrant and sustainable communities, have come together to respond to challenges that we face in managing water at research, education and policy advocacy levels by institutionalizing the Coca-Cola Department of Regional Water Studies. The department will play a leading role in developing an international cadre of development professionals (fresh and mid-career), well-equipped to tackle, beyond cultural boundaries and across sectoral divisions, the interwoven challenges of water sustainability. It will also undertake to influence, through the independent policy and action research carried out in the University, the scientific management of water resources in the country and beyond.