In India, a group of boys runs across the school playground to quench their thirst after spending a hot afternoon in the sun. They relish the cool, fresh water from the neat row of drinking water taps.
Half way across the world, a Ugandan girl learns to wash her hands with soap under a tap in her school, instead of at the local pond. In Cambodia, a man from the Praek Thmei region reads a notice board that tells him which local source of water is pure enough to drink, while teenage girls in Pakistan clean-up their local beaches.
They all have one thing in common. They are all reaping the benefits of a partnership between The Coca-Cola Company and UN-HABITAT. This 10 year old partnership has been providing improved access to clean drinking water and sanitation, keeping in mind the backward water hygiene and conservation practices in many developing countries of the world. It has also been augmenting ground water with rainwater harvesting techniques and solid waste management to build sustainable communities.
UN-HABITAT is one of Coca-Cola’s early partners in India that shared a common interest in promoting the cause of water and sanitation. The two partners signed an agreement in 2007 that was meant to spearheaded clean water and water conservation efforts in Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal and Nepal. The partners have since then taken this partnership to multiple countries focusing on providing local solutions to harness rainwater, provide safe clean drinking water to communities and also creating awareness amongst the school children about environmental issues.
In 2009 UN-HABITAT and Coca-Cola went a step ahead and conceptualised the award winning “Coca-Cola NDTV Support My School” initiative. Support My School is set to reinvigorate 1,000 schools in rural and semi urban areas, making them model schools for children. The schools under the Coca-Cola NDTV Support My School program must have separate toilets for boys and girls, drinking water facility, playing arena and sports equipment, library and or computer centre. The renovated schools are already facilitating education for more than 5 lakh students