By Bassey Inyang in Calabar
It has been disclosed that United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Coca-Cola Foundation, are working in partnership with the Cross River State and Abia State governments towards the provision of safe drinking water, sanitation and health facilities to fifty-eight communities in Cross River State, and Abia State.
The disclosure was made when the Coca-Cola Foundation, working in conjunction with USAID, donated a solar- powered borehole, and sanitation facilities to Government Primary School,Ndon Nwong, Odukpani Local Government Area of Cross River State.
The Projects, among then toilet and health facilities, commissioned pursuant to the Rural Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Support Project, is funded through Water and Development Alliance (WADA) mechanism, a global partnership between USAID) and the Coca-Cola Foundation, (TCCF) Global Environment, Technology Foundation (GETF),and Partners for Development (PTF) as implementing partners in Nigeria.
Speaking at the event yesterday, USAID’s Mission Director, Stephen M. Haykin, who was represented by Dr. Joachim Ezeji, said in the past two years, Coca-Cola Foundation, USAID and Water And Development Alliance (WADA), working in partnership has provided $1 million for funding of projects aimed at the provision of clean drinking water, sanitation, and other health facilities to 56,000 people in rural communities in 58 communities Abia State, and Cross River state.
The USAID Mission Director, Mr. Stephen Haykin, said the projects were targeted at ensuring that there was access to clean water, and sanitation to targeted schools, markets and medical clinics in both states.
“We are not finish yet, with Coca-Cola; we are improving access to clean water with more projects like you see here today. We are improving access to clean water in 12 schools, 4 medical centres and 2 market areas as well as improving sanitation in 23 schools, 8 medical clinics and one market area in each of 4 LGAs in the two states, to benefit of 56,000 people”, Haykins said.
He said in the last two years, the partnership between Coca-Cola Foundation, USAID, WADA, the government of both states, and the benefiting local government areas have been very successful.
“Through this partnership, we have already improved and expanded access to safe and reliable water, and sanitation services for nearly 48, 800 people and sanitation for nearly 11,000 people in 58 rural communities,” Haykin said.
In his remarks, the Managing Director, Coca-Cola Nigeria, Mr. Bupendra Suri, said aside from the fact that the company was giving back to the society as part of its corporate social responsibility, the donation of the bore hole would in many ways enhance the living standard and condition of the inhabitants of Ndon Nwong.
Suri who was represented by, Mrs. Nwamaka Onyemelukwe, said the project was implemented in collaboration with WADA.
The managing director said the bore hole would provide clean drinking water to members of the community, prevent the people from contracting water borne diseases as well as reduce the effect of poor hygiene in the community.
Suri urged the people of the community to take ownership of the project so it would serve the purpose for which it was provided.
Suri disclosed that, at the moment, Coca Cola is working vigorously to address challenges posed by shortage of clean water for human consumption in the African continent, hence the partnership with the USAID, and other development partners, towards providing similar projects within communities in Africa.
Also speaking, the state Commissioner for Water Resources, Gabe Odu-Oji, commended Coca-Cola for demonstrating its corporate social responsibility, and also thanked USAID for providing the facilities not only in Odukpani, but also in Obubra Local Government Area.
“You have been given this water facility. Protect it. To whom much is given, much is expected,” Odu-Oji, who cut the tape to commission the projects, tasked the community.