The Coca-Cola Foundation’s Water-Positive Mission Transforms Batticaloa’s Reservoirs

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The Coca-Cola Foundation, through  a grant to its implementing partner We Effect, has unveiled its latest project fortifying its commitment to sustainable water management in Sri Lanka, through the successful renovation of three vital reservoirs located in the Batticaloa District. The inauguration ceremony of the three rehabilitated reservoirs, Thikkanai Kulam, Manikkam Kulam, and Thamarai Kulam was held on the 12th of October 2023, and graced by the presence of dignitaries from the local government and community members.

(L-R) President of the Farmer’s Society – Rasaiya Patkunam, We Effect Sri Lanka, Country Director – Mayooran Thevasigamany, Divisional Secretary, Vakarai – Ganeshamoorthy Arunan, The Coca-Cola Company, Regional Lead, Public Affairs, Communications, Sustainability – Sri Lanka, Maldives, Nepal & Bhutan – Lakshan Madurasinghe and Additional Government Agent, Batticaloa – Sutharsini Srikanth at the unveiling of the Thikkanai Tank.

The transformative project, “Our Actions Our Future,” spanning over two years since its inauguration in 2021, centers on water replenishment, women empowerment, and waste management. Its primary aim is to ensure access to agrarian water supply for over 1,700 marginalized families in the Batticaloa region. Aligning with this central aim, the refurbishment resulted in a cumulative increase of 533,400 cubic meters in storage capacity across the three reservoirs, Thikkanai Kulam, Manikkam Kulam, and Thamarai Kulam.

Community members in Batticaloa, Vakarai region join the WeEffect Team, AHAM team and The Coca-Cola Foundation at the inauguration ceremony.

Additionally, this project promotes women leadership through a cooperative approach, with notable results including strengthened farmers’ primary cooperatives for collective actions, increased access to agrarian water through three renovated water reservoirs, ensured access to a clean and safe drinking water facility for over 1,000 families, women entrepreneurship development with increased economic opportunities, and improved waste management practices in the selected communities.

Special Guest, Additional Government Agent – Batticaloa, Sutharsini Srikanth, commended the initiative and urged corporates to adopt similar visions and strategies. “Today, we mark a significant step towards a sustainable future, perfectly aligned with our nation’s vision for sustainable development. The Coca-Cola Foundation’s commitment to fortifying water resilience and local livelihoods through the renovation of these reservoirs mirrors our dedication to sustainable progress. I extend my heartfelt gratitude to We Effect, AHAM, and The Coca-Cola Foundation for their unwavering commitment to this cause. Let us draw inspiration from their exemplary collaboration and encourage others to also join in shaping a sustainable and prosperous future for all”, he stated. 

Resonating their thoughts, Nina Larrea, Regional Director Asia at We Effect, emphasized the impact of this project: “Our collaboration with The Coca-Cola Foundation has been a driving force for positive change, both in the past and now, as we witness its profound impact in the Batticaloa region. This initiative has led to the strengthening of cooperatives, better access to water, and increased opportunities for women entrepreneurs. It serves as a powerful testament to the remarkable achievements that arise when organizations unite for a sustainable future.”

In collaboration with partners ACTED and We Effect, The Coca-Cola Foundation has initiated impactful water stewardship projects in Sri Lanka. ACTED and The Coca-Cola Foundation worked together in October 2018 to restore the Samurdhi Tank in Galahitiya village, Monaragala District. This project improved irrigation access for approximately 400 households and 1,700 local farmers, opening up around 250 acres of farmland for year-round cultivation, particularly benefiting local women farmers. In the same year, We Effect, with a grant from The Coca-Cola Foundation, reconstructed and refurbished the Thammannawa and Elpathwewa Water Reservoirs in Anuradhapura. This effort not only increased water availability and quality but also empowered women in Thammannawa village. The result was a doubling of agricultural output over 180 acres, higher income, and an improved quality of life for local communities. 

Acknowledging this progress, Saadia Madsbjerg, President of The Coca-Cola Foundation highlighted their dedication to the environment and society. “We understand water’s importance for people and the planet. The Coca-Cola Foundation is grateful for the partnership with the Batticaloa district and We Effect on water conservation. We believe future collaborations will boost our efforts in water accessibility, aiming for a sustainable water future for all.”

The Coca-Cola Foundation’s dedication to community impact and development in Sri Lanka reflects the commitment to the environment, society, and enhancing the quality of life in the communities we serve. The renovation of the Batticaloa reservoirs is a testament to this commitment, contributing to a sustainable future for all.

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