The Water and Development Alliance (WADA), a water management program designed by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Coca-Cola, provides communities in Latin America, Middle East, Asia, and Africa with safe water access and sanitation. Since its conception in 2005, WADA has implemented 35 projects. After 10 years, WADA provided 600,000 people with reformed water access and 250,000 people with improved sanitation.
Between 2005 and 2014, WADA reached Uganda, Guatemala, Sierra Leone, El Salvador, and Ghana. WADA engages with these communities with several objectives. First, they establish participatory, sustainable water and watershed resources management to benefit people and ecosystems. Second, they increase access to community water supply and sanitation services. Third, WADA fosters improved behaviors and sanitation hygiene for positive health impacts. Finally, they promote efficient and sustainable productive use for water to protect the environment and provide economic benefits to communities.
WADA’s work in Ghana is a perfect example of the program’s endeavors. Ghana’s groundwater is the primary source of water for small rural towns, and it also has exceptionally high concentrations of fluoride. Fluoride affects calcium’s strength in the human body, a reaction that children are susceptible to. The reaction threatens the development of tooth enamel, resulting in decay, discoloration and severe pitting. The high fluoride content in Ghana’s groundwater is particularly dangerous for children. According to Water.org, “seventy percent of all diseases in Ghana are caused by unsafe water and sanitation.” The program directly improved water access for 4,000 families.
WADA also reformed five schools in Ghana’s Sekondi/ Takoradi Metropolitan Assembly. Schools often lack clean water for handwashing and latrines to properly dispose of waste. The program trained more than 40 teachers on hygiene behaviors and latrine facility maintenance. Furthermore, it created school hygiene clubs, installed 40 handwashing stations and 7 latrines. The project serviced approximately 5,400 students with safe water access and sanitation. Since 2007, WADA has serviced 8,000 schoolchildren.
Through the Water and Development Alliance, USAID and Coca-Cola has successfully changed thousands of lives around the world. This organization is a perfect example of how corporations and aid organizations can work together in order to reduce global poverty. Hopefully, other alliances such as this one can continue to improve the state of the world.
– Tiffany Santos