March 22nd, 2022 - Colombo: The Coca‑Cola Foundation has provided funding to We Effect Sri Lanka and Trincomalee District Youth Development (AHAM) to support the ‘Our Actions - Our Future’ holistic development project on Water Replenishment, Women Empowerment and Waste Management. This project was launched at Paavakkodichchenai, Vakarai, Batticaloa, on the 22nd of March; World Water Day 2022.
The Coca‑Cola Foundation is the global philanthropic arm of The Coca‑Cola Company. Globally, The Coca‑Cola Company has pledged to help return 100% of the water used in its manufacturing back to communities and nature. In Sri Lanka, with the help of its many external partners including The Coca‑Cola Foundation, it has helped exceed the goal by replenishing 209% of the water it uses to make its beverage products in the year 2021. This means that for every litre of water used for the production of its beverages, the company helps return 2 litres of water to communities and nature through impactful local water initiatives.
This latest project aims to empower farmers in the Kayankeny, Panichchenkeny, and Kathirvely Grama Niladhari (GN) Divisions in Koralaipattu North (Vakarai) Division in the Batticaloa District. During the event, the ground-breaking ceremony of the project to rehabilitate the water reservoirs of Thikkanaikulam, Maanikamkulam and Panichankernykulam took place with the participation of Government officials and representatives of Coca‑Cola, and We Effect.
On successful completion, the project will benefit 1,772 marginalized families, strengthen farmers’ primary cooperatives for collective actions, increase access to agrarian water through the three renovated water reservoirs, ensure access to clean and safe drinking water facilities for 1,000 families, boost women entrepreneurship development with increased economic opportunities, and improve waste management practices in the selected three communities.
Saadia Madsbjerg, President of The Coca‑Cola Foundation, stated, “Since its inception in 1984, The Coca‑Cola Foundation has supported sustainable community initiatives around the world by enhancing communities, protecting the environment and empowering women. We are happy to support We Effect once again and build on the successes we achieved during the previous project in 2019.”
Nina Larrea - Regional Director of We Effect, Sweden commented, “We are proud to work with The Coca‑Cola Foundation and the communities again, in a second project, addressing the serious threat to livelihoods by lack of water and land for agriculture, and at the same time encourage the development of sustainable livelihood by using the cooperative principles. These principles are a real chance to transform the economy to a resilient, social economy built on respect for the community and for the environment, and for resilience to future crises.”
Mr. Kanapathipillai Karunaharan, Government Agent and District Secretary of Batticaloa stated, “We are grateful to The Coca‑Cola Foundation and We Effect for coming forward to restore these 3 reservoirs and provide a better quality of life to the communities here by providing the opportunity for paddy cultivation for two seasons. Batticaloa is known to be a dry zone district and therefore finding water for agricultural purposes has always been very challenging, causing great hardship to the communities here. Once these three water reservoirs are restored, farmers, women entrepreneurs and their families will receive much-needed support to improve their lives.”
This is the second water initiative project with We Effect funded by The Coca‑Cola Foundation. The prior project was conducted in 2019 and renovated the ancient 100-year-old Thammannawa and Elpathwewa Water Reservoirs paving the way to double the agricultural output, greater income, and safe, clean water for marginalized communities in a rural village of Thammannawa, Gebbittikollawa DS division in Anuradhapura. This initiative was granted a‘Best Sustainability Project’ accolade at the Best Corporate Citizen Sustainability Awards 2020 organized by The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce.