All our own-brand water is ethical, naturally.
Every Co-op bottle of water you buy helps charitable projects in Africa, whether it's still, sparkling or flavoured. We are the only supermarket with a charity water, Fairbourne Springs, and in 2016 we celebrated 10 years of this great work. In partnership with The One Foundation, our Fairbourne Springs bottled water has given back to communities across Sub-Saharan Africa for the last decade.
But we didn't stop there, in January 2017 we extended our commitment from just Fairbourne Springs. Now, for every litre sold of any Co-op water including flavoured, 3p is donated to The One Foundation to be invested in clean water, sanitation and hygiene projects in Africa. In total, £7 million has been raised from bottles of water you have bought in your local store, and 1.5 million lives have been changed.
For that we want to say a huge thank you.
Already, Fairbourne Springs sales alone have funded water, sanitation and hygiene programmes in countries such as Kenya, Rwanda, Zambia and Malawi. Malawi, ranked by the World Bank as the world’s poorest country in 2015, has been impacted severely by climate change. Our extended donation on all water will raise a further 35% of funding every year for projects like these.
In the south of the country, the worst flooding for 60 years left thousands of poverty stricken people homeless and with water supplies destroyed, and within 18 months, the region is now in severe drought.
The Co-op and The One Foundation have focused attention here in recent years, where clean water is a scarce and precious resource. Over £1.4million has been invested in Malawi alone, with 340,000 lives changed.
So what have you helped us to change?
● Funded a drilling rig capable of drilling up to 75 boreholes a year, providing around 18,750 per year rural people with clean water
● Rehabilitated over 600 broken pumps, restoring water to 150,000 people
● Supported our Fairtrade sugar and tea farmers through pump repair and borehole drilling
● Built an innovative pump repair, maintenance and training programme
Joseph from Zonsezi village – his story
Zonsezi village is a remote village situated in the mountains of Malawi. Their one borehole for water collection is 15 years old, 39m deep and serves 26 families - around 150 people.
The pump had been dysfunctional for over a year and a half and needed a total overhaul. A typical wage in Zonsezi village is around 26,000 kwacha a year, £26 to us. The village was unable to raise the repair funds and had given up all hope of their pump ever being fixed.
Sickness and diarrhoea is a big problem, especially during the period that the pump was broken, as the community had no other option but to drink from open water sources. With the nearest hospital 7km away, this was hugely risky.
Zonsezi’s Village Chief, Joseph (aged 74) and his wife Flossie explained how difficult life had been when their borehole wasn’t working. Joseph says “We would walk long distances to collect water, water is everything - we can't live without water, we can’t make food without water. We were using water from open water sources and the river, but pigs and goats also use these so we would often get diarrhoea.
“Since 2000 we have used this borehole, in 2013 the borehole broke and we couldn't fix it. Many people we contacted came to look at it and said it wasn't fixable as it was in such disrepair. The One Foundation and Co-op Pump Repair team came to assess the borehole - when they came back a second time and fixed it we were overjoyed, we are so happy.”
The cost of this repair was just £400, funded directly by Fairbourne Springs sales, actioned by The One Foundation and changing the lives of a whole community.
Thoko from Mpeni Village in Malawi – his story
The Mpeni Village borehole was built in 2014 to provide clean water to 70 households in the community - 420 people. Before the pump, the women of Mpeni collected water from an open well at the bottom of a steep hill 1km away. This was a difficult journey in rainy season, with many women falling during the walk and spilling their water on the way. The village valued the new pump so highly that a village water committee has been built to keep the vital system running smoothly – including a water tariff and village roster.
Mpeni is now a model example of a successful and sustainable clean water programme.
Community member, Thoko Mathotho said: “We’re so grateful for the work in our village. We often suffered illness when we drank from the unprotected water source and Cholera was present in our village. We have seen a reduction in disease over the last two years since we have been drinking water from the water pump. With the time saved on collecting water we can now tend to our fields and plant crops”.
With the success of Fairbourne Springs set to continue and grow, we are also looking at ways to increase commitment to further reducing water poverty globally. Our partnership with The One Foundation is widening at the same time, to support more of our own African Fairtrade producers, such as our tea pickers in Malawi, cocoa farmers in Ghana and Cote D’Ivoire and our charcoal burners in Namibia.
The One Foundation
The Co-op is proud to support The One Foundation and their vision for a world where everyone has access to clean and safe water, forever. The One Foundation is a charity that works towards their vision through partnerships like ours to deliver vital projects from water and sanitation programmes to pump repair, community training and school feeding programmes in the world’s poorest communities.
Donations from Co-op water have also been used to help address humanitarian emergency appeals such as Horn of Africa drought, Nepal earthquake, and Ebola crisis in Sierra Leone and flooding in Malawi.