75% of families in Nouakchott receive their water supply from donkey-driven water carriers who collect it from municipality water points. The largest part of the population that has no direct access to water and water supply is found in Arafat, El Mina, Riyad and Sebkha.
The objective for the "Water for All in Nouakchott" project is to improve the quality and quantity of available water for 72.000 vulnerable people in Arafat, El Mina, Riyad and Sebkha.
« Clean Water for All in Nouakchott » is a water supply project for these municipalities, and is financed by the Coca-Cola Africa Foundation and World Vision Mauritania. Its objective is to improve the quality and quantity of available water for 72.000 vulnerable people in Arafat, El Mina, Riyad and Sebkha.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Mauritanian Beverages Company, SOBOMA, M. Mohamed Harche El Korane, reveals to us the « conscience and citizenship » side of the commercial business of SOBOMA. (SOBOMA is a Mauritanian Beverages Company representing Coca-Cola in the country).
The objective of the water supply project that you support is to improve the quality, quantity and water management systems for all in the city of Nouakchott. What motivated Coca-Cola to finance and sponsor such a project ?
At an international scale, the lack of water, especially in Africa, is a major obstacle to development, and an obstacle to poverty reduction. Statistics released by the African Development Bank (AfDB) in 2006 show that access to safe water is at 64% and access to sanitation is at 38%
On average, in rural Africa, women spend 26% of their time going to fetch water, with all the accompanying hygiene and health problems they face.
On average, in rural Africa, women spend 26% of their time going to fetch water, with all the accompanying hygiene and health problems they face. The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that, in terms of time saved, one dollar invested in water or sanitation, earns four dollars in saved time.
It is within the above context that the Coca-Cola Africa Foundation wanted to support, as a priority, essential projects which ensure a clean water supply for all. This operation started in 48 African countries, including Mauritania. For now we are focused on the city of Nouakchott, but we will probably undertake similar projects with World Vision in other parts of the country.
How does this partnership work practically, on the ground?
Coca-Cola is a bottler. Our job is to manufacture and sell drinks. But we have a social conscience, and we wish to participate in building the society from which we are developing our business. This is why we partner with international organizations such as World Vision, which has good field experience. WV is our partner in the field, and they engage directly with government authorities and the population.
World Vision and Coca-Cola have both been working in Mauritania for many years. We’ve observed World Vision’s efficiency in the field and the impact of their projects.
World Vision and Coca-Cola have both been working in Mauritania for many years. We’ve observed World Vision’s efficiency in the field and the impact of their projects. For this specific project – Clean Water for All in Nouakchott – we involved the main Government partners (Urban Community of Nouakchott, Ministry of Hydraulics and Sanitation, Health Ministry…) to jointly establish technical specifications and a roadmap for this project, which we shared with World Vision Mauritania.
Indeed we are a donor, but we keep a close eye on the project’s progress, and ensure proper use of funds. We don’t interfere with the technical aspects of the project. This has always been what we do with our projects, and will stay the same for our future projects, God willing.
Can we expect to see Coca-Cola financing other infrastructural development projects? What other social issues are likely to attract your interest in the future?
We will very soon be launching a project to strengthen the resilience of the most vulnerable urban women, especially women who are the head of their household.This project actually started six months ago in Nouakchott, benefiting 40 women. The idea is to provide each woman with a cart and two cases of drinks to encourage them to sell and earn an additional income.
Parallel to that, we also train the women in financial management, and sensitize them on how to inject the money they earn into their children’s education. The last point is really the main objective of this project : to improve children’s education by boosting the socio-economic resilience of women-headed households. We are targeting 200 to 300 women in 2015. Some municipalities are interested in this project and want to join us.
We are preparing other projects, most of which focus on environmental issues, for example greening projects and awareness campaigns in schools…
We worked on other projects in 2011 and 2013, notably donating two containers of medicine to the cardiology centre in Nouakchott, valued at $800 000.
We expect to provide larger scale medicine donations again this year to enable other health facilities to also benefit from our support.