From providing access to safe drinking water to educating children about water issues, Nestlé Waters is engaging with local people living around its new Nigerian plant.
Providing safe drinking water for the people of Maderegi
In December 2015, Nestlé Waters constructed a community water facility to provide access to safe drinking water for the 1,000 people of the village of Maderegi, Nigeria.
Water shortages had long made life difficult for the people of Maderegi, a village about 50 km southwest of Abuja, so the new water community facility will have a positive effect. Free access to safe drinking water will improve hygiene and sanitation, thereby reducing the risk of diarrhea, respiratory infection and other diseases.
“The people of Maderegi have suffered from a lack of water. Today with this facility that Nestlé has given to this village, the problem of clean water will be a thing of the past” – The Honourable Abdulraham Ajiya (Chairman the Abaji Area Council)”.
The facility was handed over to local officials in a ceremony attended by the local king, officials from the Swiss embassy and the Chairman of the Abaji Area Council. It is the second community water project Nestlé Waters has donated in Nigeria since starting bottled water operations in the country in 2005.
Offering new job opportunities for local communities
From left to right: Gloria Nwabuike - Marketing Manager Nestlé Waters Nigeria, Jason Lambe - Country Business Manager Nestlé Waters Nigeria, Representative of the Swiss Ambassador, Mr. Lionel Rochat - Rep. of the Permanent Secretary Federal Ministry of Water Resources.
The village of Maderegi is near a recent 5.6 billion naira (approximately CHF 25M) manufacturing plant. The 14.6-hectare site in the Abuja Federal Capital Territory provides high quality Nestlé ‘Pure Life’ water and other beverages, and has created 111 jobs for the local economy. It is the most modern water processing plant in the region, and is designed to complement the existing Agbara factory and to meet increasing demand in the northern and western regions of Africa.
As Dharnesh Gordhon, Managing Director of Nestlé Nigeria plc, said: “Our Company has been present in Nigeria for 55 years. We are committed to continue to bring significant value to society through local sourcing and the creation of jobs.”
That long-term involvement to Nigeria has had a beneficial impact on communities. According to research conducted in 2004 by the University of Ibadan (Nigeria), 90% of Nigerians believe our company has had a positive impact on protecting the environment, while two thirds state we have helped improve infrastructure. A majority also thinks we have helped increase wages – a key factor in reducing poverty (source: The Nestlé Commitment to Africa – Report Summary 2005).
Educating a new generation on water conservation
Nestlé Waters also engages in programs to help protect the sustainability of shared aquifers and to raise awareness about water access and conservation. We support the non-governmental organization Project WET (Water Education for Teachers) – a partnership that is now more than 20 years old. The project helps teachers raise awareness about both water conservation and the need for proper hydration in children.
In Nigeria around the new Nestlé Waters plant, the number of children taking part in Project WET is growing fast. It will be expanded to 25 schools, 100 teachers and 2,500 pupils in Abaji during 2017. It is providing a bedrock of knowledge in the area that will lead to better health, better hygiene and more responsible water use.
Safe drinking water access in Nigeria: an emergency
There is still a long way to go in Nigeria:
- It is the 7th most populous country in the world, with around 180 m people (source : World Bank 2017)
- UNICEF estimates that over two thirds of these people do not have access to decent sanitation.
Through initiatives like community water facilities and its support of Project WET, Nestlé Waters is making a small but nevertheless important contribution in Nigeria towards providing 1,000 people with that most basic of needs: safe drinking water.