Life is about to change for the 25,000 residents of Ruhunda, Rwanda, who now have access to services and facilities that have not been readily accessible.
A Coca-Cola Co. sponsored social and economic development Ekocenter is at the center of a variety of new amenities including access to a full fledged health center and a telecommunications tower providing access to 3G wi-fi-internet connections. Ruhundans also will be able to draw on purified water from a new water collection center. Mobile charging services, a retail store and a fully lit football field are other amenities they now can enjoy.
Muhtar Kent, the chairman and CEO of the Coca-Cola Co., joined Paul Kagame, Rwanda’s president, June 13 in Ruhunda, located 25 miles to the east of Kigali, the country’s capital, to launch the Ekocenter site.
They were joined by U.S. Ambassador Erica J. Barks-Ruggles, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, and Randy Hogan, CEO of the water filtration manufacturer Pentair PLC, and local officials for the opening ceremony of the latest Ekocenter, a social enterprise initiative that Coke launched in 2013 to empower communities while enabling business and economic growth.
With the opening of the Ruhunda site, Coke and its partners have opened more than 100 of these centers in seven countries, according to a company news release. By the end of 2016, the release says, it plans to have opened at least 177 of the centers in 10 countries serving a population of approximately 1 million people.
Meanwhile at the Mobile World Congress taking place in Barcelona, Spain, the project was announced including Coke’s partners, mobile communications company Ericsson AB; Medshare, the medical supplies provider; Pentair; and the Dutch technology company Philips NV in collaboration with telecom operator Tigo Rwanda and the German company Solarkiosk.
The partners each contributed as follows: Ericsson helped construct a new mobile phone tower to provide connectivity while TIGO is providing 3G coverage to internet access; Medshare is to provide medicines to the town’s government-run health center; Pentair is to operate two water purification units providing up to 20,000 liters of safe drinking water daily using a combination of technologies, including reverse osmosis; Philips is to power lighting for the new soccer field and surrounding areas, including the health center; Solarkiosk designed and is to operate the Ekocenter, which is run by a woman entrepreneur and acts as a local retail store where basic necessities and Coke products are sold.
Mr Hogan said at the launch, according to the release, “We share Coca-Cola’s vision of creating sustainable economic models to ensure we have lasting impact. In this model everyone plays to their strengths, and together we can do much more than alone. Our engineers worked together with Coca-Cola’s engineers to design an innovative, durable safe water solution that is easy cooperate on minimal energy in remote locations.”
“Africa is blessed with abundant sunshine and solar-powered energy solutions provide vast opportunities for the continent.” said Andreas Spiess, CEO of Solarkiosk. “We’re excited about the many natural synergies between our vision and Coca-Cola’s Ekocenter to enable and empower communities.”