Giving Back in Nicaragua
Clean water. It’s a core part of our business, and Coca-Cola Consolidated has several teams dedicated to the quality and responsible, sustainable use of water. In 2014, the Quality Assurance team leadership felt called to give back by sharing their water expertise. They partnered with The Hope Project International, and four Coke Consolidated representatives traveled to Nicaragua, the second poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, to develop a water treatment system for a small school in Sor Maria Romero.
More than 42% of Nicaraguans live below the poverty line, surviving on less than $1 a day. More than 75% of Nicaraguans live on less than $2 a day. When the team arrived in Nicaragua, they learned that the people of Sor Maria Romero had to hike three miles to the closest river in order to get water. There was no water treatment facility, so the water was often contaminated and spread disease. The team’s mission was to install a concrete tank reservoir, pump, and filtration system. The total cost of this new system, which would guarantee an ongoing supply of clean water for 150 children attending the village school, was a mere $6,500.
After the first year’s success, the mission team returned in 2015 with an even more ambitious goal: to bring clean water to the entire village of Sor Maria Romero – more than 1,000 families – by partnering with the city to purchase five 20,000 gallon water tanks. Eight Coke Consolidated representatives joined the mission, using their own vacation time in order to participate. The Hope Project International is fortunate to have an in-house engineer who led the project locally. The team had extremely limited resources and no access to proper excavation equipment, so part of the agreement with the city was that each Hope family would volunteer eighty hours of labor in order to dig the holes needed to complete the project. After many long days and lots of hard work, the families of Sor Maria Romero finally had a clean water supply.
In the last two years, ten Coke Consolidated representatives raised more than $52,000 in order to build a school and nutrition center in an even smaller community known as 3M (pronounced Tres-Emmes). In August of 2017, they even caught the eye of the United States Ambassador to Nicaragua, Laura F. Dogu, who joined the team as they dedicated the new building.
Moving into 2018, the mission team continues to build momentum. They’ve raised $65,000 to purchase land and build a new nutrition and education center in Sor Maria Romero. They’ve leveraged vendor relationships to help with the Hope Project’s operational expenses and engaged our partners, bringing in Samaritan’s Feet to provide shoes for approximately 300 children. The team also works with local hospitals, churches, and senior centers to provide prayer shawls and wellness kits to people in need.
What a remarkable demonstration of Our Purpose in action: to Honor God in All We Do, to Serve Others, to Pursue Excellence, and to Grow Profitably. Kudos to the Quality Assurance team!