It has been pointed out that Coke may be a bit insensitive selling Coke in small villages where the people are poor and may even have trouble getting clean drinking water…
I am guilty in part…it was my idea to deliver the Coke servings in cheap plastic bags with the logos printed on them. Villagers could simply pop a straw in the bag to drink…I did this so Coke could deliver a serving for less than 10 cents at the time making it easily available and affordable…the people are poor but not destitute.
I do think Coke does what it can to help in the areas that they operate…they believe in community. Here is just a small report about Coke’s commitment to the effort to supply clean water to the disaster areas around the globe.
When monkeys eat, they fill up their cheeks with excess food as temporary storage. This habit gave rise to the term “Monkey Cheeks,” a community water storage concept championed by King Bhumibol Adulyadej and supported by The Coca-Cola Foundation Thailand.
A formal ceremony took place on November 22, in which the Project was handed over to residents in a rural area of Buriram Province, Northeastern Thailand. The Project was conducted this year in honor of the auspicious occasion of the 80th birthday anniversary of HM The King of Thailand.
Through the Monkey Cheeks Project, new water storage facilities, water filtration treatments, piping systems and distribution canals have been built in the Chumsang sub-district and Nongbot sub-district of Buriram. A total of seven Monkey Cheeks water storage facilities have been installed, with a combined capacity of 65,700 cubic meters.
Together, they are providing a long-term supply of clean water to households in the area. Like many rural villages in Northeastern Thailand, Chumsang sub-district and Nongbot sub-district have suffered from water shortages and a lack of clean drinking water. The new Monkey Cheeks water -retention devices now provide the villagers with a clean and sustainable water supply for agricultural and domestic use.
Besides the water storage facilities, The Coca-Cola Foundation Thailand has also helped to equip the local community with a GPS and satellite image mapping system that enables village members to view, plan and manage their water resources in an integrated and sustainable manner.
In addition, Coca-Cola partnered with relief agencies on-site to provide immediate aid in the aftermath of the Tsunami, The most critical need in the aftermath of a disaster is the supply safe drinking water. Coca-Cola mobilized trucks and employees, who worked around the clock to distribute water to affected communities. They also provided other emergency supplies, such as food, medicine, blankets and tents, according to local need.
To date, the Coca-Cola system has contributed more than $20 million to the relief, recovery and long-term reconstruction of tsunami-affected areas. This includes cash contributions, in-kind support and employee donations. Coca-Cola also “loaned” an Asia-based manager to the United Nations Development Program for one year to support partnership efforts across the region..
Beyond providing immediate aid, their system continues to provide sustained support to reconstruction in disaster-affected communities. Projects are designed and implemented in close partnership with local authorities and community leaders to ensure local relevance, ownership and sustainability. To date, activities have been largely in tsunami-affected communities and have focused on infrastructure reconstruction.
Partnering with government agencies and NGOs to build schools and homes. Coca-Coal built 11 school buildings in Aceh, Indonesia, and provided vehicles and communications tools. In early 2006, they opened a micro-hydro power generator in the devastated area of Krueng Kala to provide a stable power supply.
Coca-Cola is also partnering with the United Nations Foundation and the United Nations Development Program on community-based water and sanitation reconstruction efforts in tsunami-hit areas of Thailand, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and the Maldives.
In Thailand, they began community-based water resources management activities with the United Nations Foundation and a community wastewater treatment program with United States Agency for International Development (USAID). In Indonesia, their technical specialists helped conduct a hydrological survey by helicopter to assess freshwater resources in Aceh.