When we feel thirst creep up after a hot day or an intense workout, many of us just pop over to our local CVS for a bottle of water or run our taps to fill up a cool glass. In countries like Ethiopia or Sierra Leone, this is far from normal. Over 1 billion people in developing areas live without access to safe water, and 4,000 children die each day from waterborne diseases. In a time when apps and new tablets are the focal point of dinner party conversations, more than 4 billion people are still without Internet access.
Coca-Cola has teamed up with DEKA R&D to create the EKOCENTER, a kiosk made from a 20-foot shipping container that will serve as a “downtown in a box” for at-risk communities in developing countries. Each kiosk is equipped with the Slingshot water purification system that boils and evaporates dirty water, leaving behind pure water that condenses and can be collected.
The EKOCENTER not only provides access to clean water, but also offers services such as WiFi, electricity, vaccines, sanitation education, and cooked meals to become a new hub of community activity. Coca-Cola will place local female entrepreneurs in charge of each EKOCENTER, empowering a demographic that may typically have been relegated to menial work or house duties.
What began as a pilot program in South Africa this summer will extend to thousands of other fragile communities in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and North America who desperately need these resources.