A Decade of Improving Lives and Conserving Ecosystems

In this photo essay, learn how one of USAID’s longest running public-private alliances is addressing global water challenges.

Women and children enjoy new access to an improved piped water supply in Mozambique as a result of WADA’s first project in the country, implemented from 2007–2010. Photo credit: Brent Stirton/Verbatim Agency

A decade ago, The Coca-Cola Company and its Foundations and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) came together in a unique partnership to help address the world’s growing water and environmental challenges.

From Africa to Asia, the Water and Development Alliance (WADA) has helped place communities around the world on a path toward a more water-secure and environmentally sustainable future. WADA capitalizes on the organizational strengths and priorities of both partners. The partnership draws upon USAID’s expertise on the productive use of water through Feed the Future, the U.S. Government’s global hunger and food security initiative, and benefits from the Agency’s experience strengthening health outcomes through improved WASH provision under the Senator Paul Simon Water for the World Act, while also benefitting from The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation’s experience in sustainable WASH provision through its Replenish Africa Initiative.

A woman benefits from one of the WADA project’s Multiple Use Systems at the Garin Sarkin Noma Idi Women’s Garden in Niger. Photo credit: Emily Kovich, Winrock International

Niger: Multiple use systems help the gardens grow

To collect enough water for her family and livestock, Habi Issa used to walk to her traditional well at least six times a day. When it rained, dirt and animal waste flushed back into the well, risking the spread of water-borne, diarrhea-causing illness, especially to children. That was before the Multiple-Use Water Services and Household Water Treatment in Niger Project, supported by the Alliance, installed multiple use water systems in her village. Habi Issa and the other village women now use rope pumps to collect cleaner water from groundwater aquifers. As the keeper of her family’s garden, Habi Issa can also water her entire garden using a treadle pump and a series of irrigation canals. Multiple use systems have helped families double the size of their gardens and add new crops, including onions, cabbages and lettuce, providing a year-round source of nutrition and increased income. Multiple use systems have improved drinking water access for 15,704 people in the Zinder region and helped more than 134 gardeners increase their crop yields and grow lush gardens like Habi Issa’s.

A WaterHealth Center operator monitors water quality in Adeiso, Ghana. Photo credit: The Coca-Cola Company

Ghana: Clean water now steps away

Approximately 85 percent of Ghanaians lack adequate sanitation facilities, making them vulnerable to waterborne diseases such as diarrhea, cholera, and typhoid. In 2011, five WaterHealth Centers were installed in the Greater Accra and Volta Regions of the country by the Alliance-supported Sustainable Water Supply and Sanitation for Communities and Schools project, working with WaterHealth Ghana. These small modular structures house water purification equipment and treat locally available water through a combination of sedimentation, pre-filtration and ultraviolet technology. Each water kiosk has the capacity to produce 65,000 liters a day and the five 1,000-liter tanks that house the purified water ensure availability during peak rush hours. Water is also distributed via pump to two vantage points, each with a 10,000-liter tank. Each center can provide 3,250 people with up to 20 liters of water a day. Today clean, potable water, meeting World Health Organization standards, is available to villagers for a modest fee. In addition to the WaterHealth Centers, the project installed two bio-gas latrine facilities that generate power to 19 nearby schools. The community also received 233 newly-built latrines, and behavior change campaigns were implemented in schools to reinforce these infrastructure improvements.

Haleema, a mother of three, now has a house connection for clean water. Photo credit: Yosri Aql, UNICEF

Egypt: Being connected makes a difference

Before Haleema received her household connection to clean water her son had a skin infection caused by bathing in a polluted river. In 2010, the Raising Healthy Children with Safe Household Water Supply and Sanitation Project, supported by the Alliance, brought safe, reliable water connections to 1,000 households in the impoverished districts of Abnoob and El Fateh in the upper Egyptian governorate of Assuit, transforming lives in more than a dozen remote rural communities and benefitting about 5,000 community members. Having water supplied directly to her home spares her the discomfort of knocking on doors to ask for water. “A lot of people were reluctant to share their water,” she recalls. “Now my children can bathe at home any time, and I can also wash their clothes with clean water,” says Haleema.

Primary school students in Indonesia treat water with Air RahMat. Photo Credit: Yesi Maryam, Cinta Air

Indonesia: Clean water technology even children can use

From 2006 to 2007, the Alliance -supported Cinta Air, or “Love Water” program, which underscored the vital connection between upstream forests and reliable clean water supplies to domestic or industrial consumers downstream. On the household level, Cinta Air introduced the use of Air RahMat, a chlorine solution, as an affordable, user-friendly water treatment technology for contaminated water. Air RahMat disinfects water and helps prevent disease. With a few drops, water becomes safe to drink and a chlorine residual provides a safeguard against recontamination during storage. The packaging is simple enough for a child to use and Cinta Air found that working with schools provided useful opportunities to encourage students to bring home messages of simple and effective environment, health, and hygiene practices. “This information ends up helping the whole family,” said one teacher. Cinta Air promoted reforestation to stabilize seasonal fluctuations in water supply, improved water quality through reduced sedimentation, and mitigated the risk and impact of flooding during the rainy season. Also, some 1,500 hectares were reforested as a result of the project. The project also reached more than a million people through multi-media campaigns promoting the protection of natural resources.

Jeremiah Daffa of the Tanzania National Environment Managing Council plants a tree seedling for future forestation. Photo credit: The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation

Tanzania: A holistic approach to watershed issues

The Pangani and Wami-Ruvu are two of the most populated river basins in Tanzania. Yet, these valued water resources are increasingly stressed by industrial waste, agricultural pollution, deforestation, and lack of sanitation infrastructure. In 2007, the Alliance-funded Improved Community Livelihoods and Sustainable Water Management Project took an integrated river management approach to address these water-related challenges and involved individuals, industries, and governments in the work. Under the project, 20,000 people benefitted from access to water supply or sanitation services and 150,000 people benefitted from improved watershed protection. The project assessed water usage of industries to identify opportunities to improve efficiency. Over the longer-term, the capacity of local and government agencies was strengthened and project benefits were institutionalized so that scientific data informed decisionmaking on watershed management. To sustain these advances, the project engaged village leaders and local residents to increase access to water and sanitation services, and participate in soil conservation activities, such as planting economically valuable tree species on degraded land parcels. School children were instructed in sound community water management practices and students, like those at the Msowero secondary school in Kilosa, established a tree nursery with 650 seedlings, inviting local community leaders to take part in the planting.

Building on Success

Since 2005, the Water and Development Alliance has reached over 600,000 people with improved water access, 250,000 people with improved access to sanitation and strengthened the management of more than 440,000 hectares of land. With a combined investment of $39 million since 2005, the Alliance is having a positive impact on the lives of people and the health of ecosystems in 30 countries in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and Latin America, with plans for expansion in the next phase of the partnership.

In November of 2016, USAID, The Coca-Cola Company and its Foundations, and the Global Environment & Technology Foundation (GETF) announced the next five-year phase of this sector-leading partnership.

Between 2016 and 2021, the partnership will seek to promote improved water management and expand WASH services for poor and marginalized people in developing countries around the world.

To subscribe to Global Waters magazine, click here, and follow us on Twitter @USAIDWater. This article appears in Global Waters, Vol. 8, Issue 1; for past issues of the magazine, visit Global Waters’ homepage on the USAID website. For more information on the Water and Development Alliance (WADA), please click here.

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