How does Nestlé Waters support the local community in Abaji?
Nestlé Waters has operated in Abaji (Nigeria) since 2016. Our factory is located in Manderegi, a small village of 2,000 people around 5km from Abaji.
Since we began working here, we have collaborated closely with the local community to put in place a plan that addresses people’s main concerns and requests.
The first priority has been to provide safe and free water access to the local population. Working with local government, Nestlé Waters has also renovated the local school and implemented a Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) program. This includes eight toilets, hand wash basins for teachers and students, and water access for the school and the community.
Being part of the community also means investing in its future. Nestlé Waters has created a Technical Training Center which aims to match the new generation with new jobs. The first 12 students graduated in in July 2019, and most of them have now been hired by Nestlé Waters Nigeria.
What is Nestlé Waters doing to facilitate water access for the local community?
When Nestlé Waters set up its factory in 2016 in Manderegi, the villagers had to walk 1km to the local river to fetch unclean water to meet their needs.
Working with the local community, we have developed a program that aims to ensure the long-term sustainability of the watershed and facilitate water access for local people.
Today, we provide fresh and clean water through taps located at our factory gates and at the local school. A new access point will be available in November 2019 on the opposite side of a highway that divides the village, making access easier for hundreds more people.
Were there problems with the water fountains you installed?
We did face some challenges and took prompt action to address them. In May 2019, following an article by the International Center of Investigative Reporting (ICIR) in Nigeria, we found that the solar panel that powers the village borehole pump had stopped working and was not fixed. This meant that the water access point at the village school had stopped working.
Our local team quickly resolved this problem, and the water is running again. To ensure this kind of issue does not arise in the future, we have trained a village resident on how to repair the solar panel. He will also alert us in the case of any future issues with our water access points.
Did Nestlé Waters compensate local farmers when it built its factory?
Before building the factory, we consulted with all stakeholders, including the people of Manderegi. Abaji Area Council and third-party valuers assessed alll land claims and compensation demands from villagers relating to crops. Everyone was fully compensated before the factory was built.
How do you ensure that waste water at the factory is safe?
We follow our global commitment to treat all the water we discharge effectively, to ensure it does not harm the environment. All the effluent we release from our Abaji factory is monitored, and its quality is verified using third-party laboratories. All the results to date confirm that we comply with regulatory norms.