Almost 100,000 people in cocoa-growing communities in Côte d’Ivoire are now able to access clean drinking water and sanitation facilities thanks to an initiative by Nestlé and the International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC) and the Red Cross Society.
A total of 50 water pumps and 68 blocs of school toilets have been built or renovated over the past four years in communities and schools in rural areas of the country where Nestlé sources cocoa.
A total of 94,071 people have learnt about hygiene and sanitation, including how to store water and treat it safely at home as well as how to build safe sanitation facilities. Among these, 35,000 children, who learnt about the importance of hand-washing at specific times of the day.
As part of the initiative, local people also leart about how to prevent diarrhoeal diseases, currently the world’s second leading cause of death in children under five.
Toilets and pumps built through the initiative are initially maintained by IFRC representatives. Later, trained mechanics and community groups take over the responsibility of maintaining and managing them for the long-term.
Nestlé’s activities with the IFRC in Côte d’Ivoire are linked to the Nestlé Cocoa Plan, which aims to enable farmers to run profitable farms, eliminate the use of child labour and ensure a sustainable supply of cocoa.
Nestlé has been working with IFRC on water and sanitation projects in Côte d’Ivoire since 2007. This includes efforts to empower local people so they can participate fully and take on the role of monitoring and evaluating the activities.
The partnership was further extended in 2010, with a focus on improving health and hygiene among schoolchildren, teachers and in communities.
Nestlé is involved in a number of initiatives that contribute to the United Nations Millennium Development Goal of halving the proportion of the world’s population without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation by 2015.
Walking for water
Although this target has been achieved five years ahead of schedule, UN statistics show there is still significant work to be done. Some 768 million people remain without access to an improved source of drinking water, 40% of them in sub-Saharan Africa.
In Côte d’Ivoire, for example, only 37% of the population has access to proper sanitation facilities and women, who are mostly responsible for supplying their families with water, are forced to spend hours fetching it.
The right of all people to have access to clean water to meet their basic needs is recognised withinNestlé’s Commitment on Water Stewardship.
The company has committed to ensuring that all its facilities provide access to clean water and sanitation to employees, and helps to provide clean water and improved sanitation to priority communities close to selected factories, and in locations where it sources agricultural commodities.
Our chairman Peter Brabeck’s water blog
Nestlé Water Stewardship Commitment - January 2013 (pdf, 200Kb)
Nestlé partnership with the International Federation of the Red Cross
Creating Shared Value: Community engagement
International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescendent Societies
Nestlé Cocoa Plan
Read more stories about Nestlé and water:
Nestlé factory reduces water use by almost two thirds in less than 12 months
Nestlé celebrates World Water Day
Nestlé goes on the road to promote water conservation in the US
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