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Community involvement

Our Water of Life programme, which aims to provide access to clean water, complements the work we do in our direct operations.  We use our local knowledge and stakeholder partnerships to ensure that clean water is available where it really counts – to communities, households and individuals.

We know that clean water is essential to sustainable development by contributing to improved health and education levels and the reduction of poverty. Our Water of Life programme (WOL) aims to provide safe drinking water to people in need. Since June 2006, we have launched WOL projects in 14 countries, mostly in Africa, supporting a range of initiatives including boreholes, hand-dug wells, rainwater harvesting and domestic filtration devices.

As well as providing access to clean water, the projects we support also aim to:

  • Combine safe water provision with sanitation
  • Educate people about good hygiene and sanitation
  • Develop people’s skills and communities’ ownership
  • Have self-financing elements to ensure the upkeep of equipment and technology.

Performance against targets

Our aim to provide access to clean water to an additional 1 million people in Africa each year from 2007 to 2015 represents an important way in which Diageo Africa contributes to the UN Millennium Development Goal 7, target 1: To reduce by half the proportion of people in Africa without access to water and adequate sanitation.

by 2015
This year’s performance
2010 - 2011
Cumulative performance
2007 – 2011
Improve access to safe drinking water for 8 million people in Africa Approximately 1 million people benefitted. Approximately 5 million people benefitted In progress

This year, according to our partners, our Water of Life community projects should have enabled access to clean water to approximately 1 million people additional people. To estimate these figures, we aim to assess the following criteria for each beneficiary. He or she should:

  • Live within two kilometres of the water source, or 500 metres if in an urban area
  • Be able to get his or her water from:
    • piped water into a dwelling, plot or yard
    • a public tap / standpipe
    • a tube well / borehole
    • a protected dug well
    • a protected spring
    • rainwater collection
    • water filtration and purification.

These parameters support our drive to establish and maintain high standards in providing water to our communities, and drive our measurement of the impact of projects. Efforts are underway to increase the quality of data on beneficiary numbers, as we continue to derive learnings and aim to further strengthen our sustainable impact in this key area. Please see the About this report for more details of how we estimate the number of beneficiaries of our programmes.


Activity during the year

A number of initiatives across Africa have been put in place this year as part of Water of Life. Here is just a selection.

  • Guinness Ghana Breweries and the Ghanaian government jointly commissioned a water project at Pobikorpe, a water-stressed area in the Ga West Municipality. Water of Life and aims to provide access to clean water to over 160,000 Ghanaians across the country by the end of 2011.
  • Brandhouse and the Mbashe Water Project, South Africa: in partnership with local NGO Mvula Trust, Diageo’s marketing and distribution partner, brandhouse, provided a small-town water delivery system, comprising 13.5 kilometres of pipeline and 30 standpipes, to reach all the district’s 6,000 inhabitants.
  • East Africa Breweries and Embu, Kenya: in partnership with Ecotact (an NGO in Kenya), East Africa Breweries Limited (EABL) funded a water and sanitation project in Embu, a community northeast of Nairobi. It will benefit around 45,000 residents and bring an end to the perennial water challenges facing this community. The project is part of EABL’s commitment to ensure the sustainable development of communities in the region.
  • Arthur Guinness Fund CrystalPur Water Filters project, Ghana and Nigeria: under the Water of Life Programme, the Arthur Guinness Fund is seed-funding a social enterprise project in Ghana and Nigeria to build a sustainable market for affordable household filters, called CrystalPur. The project will benefit over 210,000 people in both countries by August 2011, and will increase the entrepreneurial and training skills of many more. Targeted at low-income families whose main source of water is surface water, CrystalPur filters eliminate 99.99% of all waterborne bacteria and parasites, with no chemical or mechanical parts. The filters provide a point-of-use treatment, improving water quality in the household rather than at community level.
  • Yunnan, China: while most of our WOL activity is in Africa, we have also been working on providing clean access to water in China for the last four years. Diageo’s donations contributed to the development of 69 water cisterns in five villages helping an estimated 290 villagers. This year, Diageo employees visited the cisterns and planted greenery around the surrounding area.
  • India – a joint project with the Forum for Organised Resource Conservation and Enhancement (FORCE): FORCE is a leading water conservation NGO. Together we built rainwater harvesting structures in Delhi so that groundwater could be replenished through 50 abandoned tubewells. We estimate that the project will provide 10,000-14,000 people with up to 40 million litres of clean water per year.

GRI indicators in this section

EC8 Infrastructure for public benefit

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