Coca-Cola Foundation Gives $1M to Water Solutions Projects

The Coca-Cola Foundation will award a total of $1 million to support four innovative projects to improve water resources and sanitation in developing nations.

 The projects were selected by the Global Water Challenge (GWC) business coalition and Ashoka’s Changemakers through “Tapping Local Innovation: Unclogging the Water and Sanitation Crisis,” an online competition calling for groundbreaking solutions to some of the world’s most pressing water and sanitation challenges. A total of 265 projects from social entrepreneurs in 54 countries around the world were submitted to the competition.

The projects receiving funding are:

  • Naandi Foundation: Clean drinking water for underserved populations in India
  • Manna Energy Foundation: Water treatment plants to create fuel for families in rural Rwanda
  • Ecotact: Treatment systems that safely transform waste into fuel and fertilizer for Kenyan communities
  • Clean Shop: Public education to support clean latrines for South African schools

“This collaborative competition tapped the power of human ingenuity and demonstrated that solutions exist to local water and sanitation issues,” said Paul Faeth, executive director of GWC. “With Coca-Cola’s $1 million grant, we are able to further fund projects that we believe will start a ripple effect in their communities and create scalable, replicable, and sustainable models that can be applied around the world.”

“While these four projects are among the most inspiring of the applications we received, all of our submissions have evoked discussion and helped to build community in the sector,” said Charlie Brown, executive director of Ashoka’s Changemakers. “We look forward to seeing new energy and innovation in addressing the global water crisis in the years to come.”

Applications for the award were submitted through the Ashoka’s Changemakers Web site ( between January and March. The judges included Ed Cain, vice president-Grant Programs, Hilton Foundation; Ian Callaghan, head of Microfinance Institutions Group, Morgan Stanley; Dr. Sanjay Gupta, chief medical correspondent, CNN; and Tanvi Nagpal, director of Water and Sanitation Initiatives, Global Water Challenge. Further details on each of the organizations and projects that will receive awards are as follows:

Naandi Foundation, India: Community-based Safe Drinking Water Systems: Through a collaborative partnership between villages, technology partners, and the states, the Naandi Foundation is facilitating the availability of safe drinking water to citizens in the Andhra Pradesh and Punjab states of India. The village panchayats support the development of water purification plants in the villages, and the partnership supplies water to villagers at a nominal user fee, which pays for the operations and maintenance that make the plant sustainable. A public education program in the villages also creates an environment for greater understanding of health, hygiene, and sanitation issues among local citizens. More information is available at

Manna Energy Foundation, Rwanda: Developing Another World in Rural Rwanda: With funding through carbon credits, the Manna Energy Foundation is installing close to 500 water treatment systems and biogas generators for secondary schools in Rwanda. The project will reach a population of 236,000 students, which amounts to three percent of the Rwandan population. The water treatment plants will use gravity and photovoltaic filtration systems, and the biogas generators will take human and kitchen waste and capture the waste methane, which can be used in high efficiency cook stoves. More information is available at

Ecotact - Innovating Sanitation, Kenya: Iko-Toilet Thinking Beyond a Toilet: Ecotact is implementing an innovative model for installing and operating pay-for-use toilets in urban areas of Kenya by leveraging recent innovations in environmental sanitation. Waterless urinals reduce water consumption; urine is segregated and sold as fertilizer, and some facilities will use human waste to generate methane gas, which reduces sewage disposal. Each toilet offers additional services, tailored to meet the needs of the local community: a small business, showers, and an ATM. The diverse array of funding sources includes user fees, advertising revenues, and the leasing of a small space to microentrepreneurs. More information is available at

Clean Shop, South Africa: Schools Sanitation Improvement and Enhancement Project: Clean Shop employs 350 people and conducts daily cleaning and hygiene services for schools, universities, mines, supermarkets, and gas stations. In partnership with the University of Venda, Clean Shop educates parents with children in public schools to clean and operate local school latrines. It is poised to operate in many more schools in partnership with the South African government. More information is available at

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