5th August 2014, Killinochchi, Sri Lanka: The Coca-Cola Foundation in partnership with the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), has assisted over 1,600 residents in Punnanineeravi GN Division in Killinochchi district in Sri Lanka’s Northern Province to access fresh water through a rain water harvesting project.
To mark the completion of this 15 month project, which successfully installed 125 roof top rain water harvesting systems in the village, senior officials from Coca-Cola together with the Killinochchi District Administration and UN-Habitat Sri Lanka visited the village of Kallaru on 5th August 2014.
Mr. Deepak Jolly, Vice President, Public Affairs and Communications of Coca Cola India and South West Asia, Mr. Asim Parek, Vice President, Technical, Coca-Cola India & South West Asia, Mr. Abhishek Jugran, Country Manager, Sri Lanka & Maldives officially handed over the rain water harvesting systems to the community. Government officials including Mr. A.Keetheeswaran, Deputy Director Planning of the Killinochchi District Secretariat, UN-Habitat representatives and members of the Punnaineeravi community participated in the hand-over ceremony held at the Kallaru Preschool in Punnainneravi GN Division.
Speaking at the event, UN-Habitat’s Chief Technical Advisor, Tim McNair, acknowledged the generous financial support provided by the Coca-Cola Foundation and the valuable in-kind contributions of the community members together with assistance provided by the Killinochchi divisional and district administration in making the project a success.
Commenting on the completion of the project, Deepak Jolly, Vice President, Public Affairs & Communication, Coca-Cola India and South West Asia, stated, “As a company with global reach and one that touches millions of people around the world, we consider it our privilege that people invite us to their lives and see a role for us in solving some of their problems. We also value our partnership with UN-Habitat and we are happy that together, we have been able to attend to the water issue in Kallaru village. More than the immediate need, it is important to sensitize people on the need for water conservation, which gives me great joy. Water is a resource that needs to be preserved, if we want to ensure the wellbeing of the generations to come”
The rainwater harvesting project has been implemented using a people’s participatory process with the support of the Kallaru Women’s Rural Development Society. The project has provided systems to 5 community buildings (the Kallaru Preschool, three Government schools and the Ministry of Health building) as well as 120 families who do not have access to safe drinking water during the dry season. Technical assistance on the system designs, installation and maintenance have been provided by UN-Habitat field staff. Sustainability of the project has been ensured through training of community leaders in CBOs and the divisional and village level administration who will monitor the utilization of the systems and provide necessary technical support on maintenance to families.
The second phase of the Coca-Cola-UN-Habitat partnership is currently in progress in Poonakary DS Division of Killinochchi district, supporting schools to establish and improve water and sanitation facilities.
UN-Habitat has been playing a key role in supporting thousands of Sri Lankan families to rebuild their lives and regain normalcy following three decades of conflict by supporting the reconstruction of damaged houses and community infrastructure in the North and East over the past five years with support from multiple donors.