Currently, vast areas of the African Sahel across 10 countries, are in the grip of a famine emergency with 9.6 million people on the brink of starvation and in need of food, water and medical treatment. In response to the severity of the devastating famine, The Coca-Cola Company and its Foundations announced a combined donation of more than $10 million to support both an immediate humanitarian relief effort and future rebuilding and development assistance.
The Coca-Cola Company and The Coca-Cola Foundation will contribute more than $1.2 million in cash and in-kind donations to immediate relief efforts that will be undertaken across affected countries, with an additional $9.6 million allocated to community resilience and strengthening programs within its continuing Replenish Africa Initiative (RAIN).
The initial $1.2 million emergency relief donation combines a $1 million cash donation composed of $500,000 contributed to CARE’s work in Somalia and $500,000 contributed to eight NGO organizations that have formed the Global Emergency Response Coalition to deliver aid across 10 countries where more than 20 million people are at risk of famine. In Somalia alone, more than 6.7 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance, of which more than 1.4 million are severely malnourished children. The remaining $200,000 will be donated through in-kind contributions by Coca-Cola and its bottling partners, providing water and other beverages, to those directly affected by the famine and drought, and supporting the awareness campaign of the coalition through local media.
The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation will direct Replenish Africa Initiative (RAIN) programs to famine and drought relief in five African countries which include new programs in Chad, Ethiopia, Sudan and Uganda, and an initiative already underway in Somaliland. 850,000 people in vulnerable communities and refugee populations will benefit from the five programs. They will receive clean water and sanitation as well as training and programs designed to help empower women and youth with economic opportunities. It is anticipated that The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation which has invested $9.6 million in the program will be leveraged with more than $28 million in additional partner co-financing.
“As a business that has been part of the fabric of Africa for almost 90 years, we are firmly committed to supporting both the long-term prosperity of the continent, and also helping to address severe short-term challenges that communities face,” said Brian Smith, President, Coca-Cola Europe, Middle East and Africa. “Like many, we are deeply saddened by the escalation of famine and drought throughout the African Sahel and we embrace the responsibility of the private sector to play a meaningful role alongside NGOs and governments in supporting the 20 million people at risk. We hope that our donations can help continue the good work that aid organizations have underway, while enabling communities to emerge strong and resilient from this crisis through the latest expansion of our flagship RAIN initiative.”
Michelle Nunn, the president and CEO of CARE commented “We are witnessing what the UN calls the largest humanitarian crisis since 1945, and now is a critical moment for millions of people facing extreme hunger and malnutrition,” she added, “The generous support of the Coca-Cola Company will help CARE and our Global Emergency Response Coalition partners alleviate that suffering and, in many cases, save lives.”
Saving lives is essential to keep Africa’s hunger and food crises from worsening. Children, particularly those under 5-year-old, are the most vulnerable because they need crucial nutrients to build strength and immunity against disease.