By Beth Nyaga
The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation (TCCAF) has announced a grant of 160 million Kenyan Shillings to The Nature Conservancy’s Upper Tana-Nairobi Water Fund.
The foundation also reiterated its strong commitment to addressing water issues in Kenya.
Dr. Susan Mboya, President of The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation officially presented the grant funds to the Steering Team of The Upper Tana-Nairobi Water Fund that will be used to support upstream water and soil conservation initiatives being undertaken by the fund.
Nairobi Water Fund is a public-private partnership that was launched in Nairobi on 20th March 2015.
As one of the pioneer water funds in Africa, it is investing in conservation programs that benefit communities across the Upper Tana watershed.
In recognition of TCCAF’s continued commitment to the Upper-Tana Nairobi Water Fund, and in celebration of World Water Day on which will be celebrated on March 22 2017, Dr. Susan Mboya remarked; “We are pleased to extend our continued support to the Water Fund in partnership with The Nature Conservancy through an additional investment of $1.6 million US Dollars (KSh 160 million) through our flagship Replenish Africa Initiative (RAIN). We strongly believe that water funds are an effective mechanism to bring all upstream and downstream water users and stakeholders together, towards the shared purpose of conserving the health and vitality of the watershed.”
This is the second such contribution being made by TCCAF, with an initial contribution of 20.7 million Ksh announced in 2015 during the launch of the ‘Nairobi Water Fund’, which was the first water endowment fund on the continent.
This RAIN project, and support of the Water Fund, aims to improve water service delivery and reliability for up to 600,000 individuals in Nairobi and provide skills development training for up to 16,000 people.
The Nature Conservancy works with businesses, water authorities, and farmers to identify key watersheds in the Upper Tana River Basin watersheds that were crucial to conservation and initiated restoration efforts working with TCCAF’s grants.
These watersheds include Thika-Chania and Maragua, both critical to Nairobi’s water and power supplies, and the Sagana watershed, which faces increasing problems with sediment washing into rivers from eroded farmland, cutting the amount of electricity nearby hydropower plants can generate.
The Upper Tana River basin which covers approximately 970,000 hectares, is home to 5.3 million people and is supplying 95 percent of the water for Nairobi’s 4 million residents.
It also feeds one of the country’s most important agricultural areas and provides half of Kenya’s hydropower output. With Nairobi contributing 60 percent of the country’s GDP, the Tana River truly fuels Kenya’s economic growth.
TNC’s Kenya Country Director, Munira Bashir, said TCCAF’s investment would blaze a trail that other companies would follow.
“The Nature Conservancy is convinced that the way to tackle some of the gravest environmental and economic challenges we face is by the private sector, government agencies, and conservation scientists to work together. This is a prime example of the success of such collaborations, and we expect many more corporates to join in now. We are very grateful for The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation’s contribution to Africa’s first Water Fund,” she said.
The Upper Tana-Nairobi Water Fund is the first water fund that The Nature Conservancy has developed outside Latin America and the United States.
The Upper Tana-Nairobi Water Fund presents an opportunity to establish Nairobi as a pioneering city in the use of innovative financial mechanisms to protect and preserve the watershed on which its economy and livelihoods depend.
The current partners and investors to the Upper Tana-Nairobi Water Fund are: Nairobi City Water & Sewerage Company, Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen), Pentair Inc, The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation (TCCAF), East Africa Breweries Ltd, International Centre for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), The Government of Kenya, Water Resources Management Authority (WRMA), Tana & Athi Rivers Development Authority (TARDA), International Fund for Agriculture (IFAD) and Frigoken Kenya Ltd.