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PepsiCo Foundation partners with WaterAid India to promote sustainable access to clean water and sanitation facilities in West Bengal

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PepsiCo Foundation in partnership with WaterAid India has initiated the ‘Access to Safe Water’ project with 45 Gram Panchayats (GPs) in West Bengal aims at providing clean water access to high-water-risk communities in the districts of Purba Bardhaman, Bankura, and Hooghly. The project endeavours to positively impact the health, security, and hygiene of local residents.

The prime objective of this project is to benefit close to 200,000 people directly and indirectly, by mid-2024. Initiatives that are planned over the coming months include providing adequate access to safe drinking water in households; improved hygiene and sanitation practices; reduced groundwater depletion through water conservation and recharge and establishing suitable water quality monitoring systems. Besides this, the project also aims to ensure significant awareness of water, health, and sanitation (WASH) issues, scaling up and replication of models outside the project villages/ communities, etc.

Through this partnership, WaterAid India aims to provide communities with sustainable access to safe & clean drinking water and to facilitate the adoption of better hygiene practices.

Sharing his thoughts on the progress of the initiatives, VK Madhavan, Chief Executive, WaterAid India said, “Safe and assured drinking water in the household or close to it has to be the reality for every family. This will not just improve the health and quality of life of families but more importantly, it will reduce the drudgery of women and adolescent girls. This partnership with the support of the PepsiCo Foundation can transform the lives of families engaged as part of the supply chain of PepsiCo by providing them with adequate access to safe water, clean toilets, and good hygiene. Success, is not merely the provision of these basic services but if communities can manage and maintain these on their own in the future.”

Ahmed ElSheikh, President, PepsiCo India added, “Guided by the philosophy of ‘Winning with pep+’, PepsiCo through its Foundation has been working towards bringing safe water access and better hygiene practices and sanitation to the underserved communities. Our partnership with Water Aid India to provide safe access water to marginalised farmer communities is inching us closer towards our goal of providing 100 million people globally with safe water access by 2030. We are positive that the inclusivity of this project will improve the health, hygiene of local farmers and communities and accelerate the process of achieving the long-term goal of improving water security in the region.”

The “Access to Safe Water” project is not just about providing water and sanitation facilities to farmers and the community. Hygiene promotion messaging among adolescent girls and women has been a key component for this project. About 550 adolescent girls and women have been trained on sustainable menstrual hygiene management. Community-level hygiene promotion sessions on personal hygiene; environmental hygiene; water and food hygiene have been regularly organised in all the intervention villages. About 6,300 people were reached through this exercise between mid-2021 to date. This number included 3,800 children. Training and awareness programmes have been organised to make WASH programmes more accessible and inclusive for everyone in the community. To improve hygiene and sanitation practices toilets are being retrofitted.