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Africa RAIN project garners global recognition

This year’s Energy Global World Award was given to Water for a Generation, a project of the Replenish Africa Initiative (RAIN) in Swaziland. This three-year project, funded by The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation (TCCAF) and implemented by Nazarene Compassionate Ministries, Inc. (NCMI), aims to develop 50 solar and hand pump water systems in schools and health clinics across Swaziland to improve health and access to water.

Backed by a US$30 million commitment by The Coca-Cola Company, RAIN is a continent-wide initiative designed to provide more than two million Africans with access to clean water by 2015. RAIN has supported or is developing 55 projects in 30 countries across Africa and will reach all countries across the continent by 2015. To date, RAIN has attracted more than US$23 million in match funding from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and other donors.

"We have had the privilege of working hand in hand with communities who have lived for years without water or access only to dirty water and the disease it brings," said Cosmos Mutowa, NCM Africa regional coordinator and Helping Hands Africa regional director. "It has been humbling to watch the changes these systems bring as students now pass [their classes] because they are not spending hours a day fetching water for the school instead of learning."

In Swaziland, RAIN is positively impacting nearly 20 percent of the country by constructing 50 solar and hand pump water systems in clinics, schools, agriculture projects, and orphan centers. This program is transforming lives by employing innovative technologies and point-of-collection chlorine dispensers to provide clean, safe water and to contribute to progress toward eradication of tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS in Swaziland. The program is also training 300 community WASH trainers and educating 50,000 individuals in environmentally sound water practices, sanitation, and hygiene.

"The Swaziland RAIN project delivers so much more than water," said Beauty Makhubela, NCM Swaziland country coordinator. "It is literally saving a generation from extinction because it has provided clean water to health clinics who can now initiate and sustain treatment for HIV/AIDS and TB, garden projects that feed HIV/AIDS support gourps and orphans, and communities that now have an economic future because they have clean water."

Each site for the solar system establishes a maintenance fund and a water committee that will be responsible for operations and maintenance of the infrastructure and will pay for a new pump at the end of the life of the current one. RAIN is also piloting an innovative “Circuit Rider” approach to ensure the lasting impact of the program. This allows each system to be self-sustaining for the life of the solar panels, which can exceed 25-30 years. The solar systems have a 10-year warranty.

"Through the Replenish Africa Initiative, we are focusing on making a sustainable difference in the lives of millions of people across Africa," said William Asiko, president of TCCAF. "Water for a Generation in Swaziland is an excellent example of a project that is improving access to water today, while providing for the long term, sustainable impact for decades to come."

The Energy Globe Awards have been awarded annually since 1999 to recognize projects that make careful and economical use of resources and employ alternative energy sources. The winners, in the categories of Earth, Fire, Water, Air and Youth, are selected by a panel including members from the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, the World Bank, and the European Renewable Energy Council. The awards are an initiative by Austrian engineer and environmentalist Wolfgang Neumann.
--The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation

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