Coca-Cola Kicks in for Water Work in Kenya

The Coca-Cola Company has had a pretty significant presence in Africa for around 100 years. The company, its foundation, and the Coca-Cola Africa Foundation (TCCAF) have embarked on dozens of projects across the continent. One of the latest ways it's lending support is bolstering water efforts in Kenya. 

The Nairobi Water Fund is the first private-public water partnership in Africa, and was established with an endowment from the Nature Conservancy, which has helped support.  

The problem with Kenya’s water supply is that there’s enough water, but the quality is poor and the country’s wetlands are quickly disappearing. All of this is exacerbated by unsustainable land use policies. The Tana River Basin, which supplies 95 percent of the Nairobi’s water, also does the same for millions of farmers. Due to unsustainable land use practices and the country’s susceptibility to dramatic swings between droughts and flood annually, the Tana River Basin is choking on run-off sediment and pollution. Not only does this result in a quality water shortage, but a dramatic increase in water treatment and hydropower costs.

The Nairobi Water Fund is hoping to increase farm productivity upstream, improve the quality of the water supply, and cut hydropower to costs users downstream. Coca-Cola is one of those downstream water supply and hydropower users. Which is where its financial input to the fund beyond its initial $150,000 investments comes in.

Coke will pay the upstream users to establish and implement sustainable, eco-friendly land-use practices such a planting trees, terracing along steep slopes, implementation of soil conservation measures and installing drip irrigation systems to curb soil erosion and to help ensure the sustainability and quality of the river basin.

Having vested business interests peppered around the continent for as long as it has, it makes total sense that the company and its foundation would expand beyond its initial HIV/AIDS grantmaking through TCCAF. Since those early days, the concerted efforts of the Coca-Cola Company, the foundation, and TCCAF has completed a number of projects and programs that address issues women’s economic empowerment, job creation, safe water access, and environmental sustainability. 

Related - Coca-Cola’s Big Philanthropic Footprint in Africa