Guinness Nigeria Foundation (GNF) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Concern Universal, a United Kingdom-based Non-Governmental Organization (NGO), to improve access to potable water in about 10 communities in Cross River State. Newly inaugurated Guinness Nigeria Foundation is the special purpose vehicle through which Guinness Nigeria Plc and Diageo implements its robust corporate social responsibility programmes in the areas of health, education and empowerment and job creation in the Nigerian market.
The partnership between GNF and Concern Universal deepen Guinness Nigeria and Diageo’s long standing support for safe water, improved sanitation and hygiene across rural and urban communities in Nigeria. On this project, Guinness Nigeria Foundation is driven by the ambition to galvanise public and private sector support towards Nigeria’s attainment of United Nations (UN) Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in the area of inclusive access to potable water, improved sanitation and hygiene.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, Country Director, Concern Universal, Mr. Tim Kellow, applauded Guinness Nigeria Foundation for supporting the Rural Sanitation and Hygiene Promotion in Nigeria (RUSHPIN) programme by providing access to potable water in villages and communities that have achieved open defecation free status in Cross River State.
Mr. Kellow said “This project is aimed at creating positive impact in Benue and Cross River States. The general unsanitary conditions of villages and communities across these two states often lead to a situation where human and animal faeces are carried into the only source of water in the community, a nearby stream or river. We are working with the local communities to enhance their understanding of the link between poor sanitation, hygiene behaviours and diseases like diarrhoea, dysentery and cholera. However, the cycle of improved sanitation and hygiene behaviour will not be complete without access to safe water in villages and communities in Benue State and Cross River State.”
In his response, Director, Corporate Relations, Guinness Nigeria Plc, Mr. Sesan Sobowale, said that Guinness Nigeria Foundation was delighted to be associated with the initiative, as it resonated with the company’s ‘Water of Life’ programme which is in line with the United Nations MDGs to halve the number of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and sanitation by 2015.
“I am quite delighted that we can sign this off today. We aim to commence work as soon as the project is commissioned in Calabar. We would also encourage other well-meaning multinational companies, that have deep rooted commitments to the development of host communities, to get involved in this initiative,” Mr. Sobowale said.
Mrs Adrianne Nwagwu, Head, Sustainability and Responsibility also of Guinness Nigeria Plc, said, “Our involvement in providing clean water to communities has a remarkable history of its own. We presently have water projects of varying sizes in 15 states of the federation and we have maintained partnerships with other like-minded organisations to support the efforts of the Federal Ministry of Water Resources to attain the MDG goals on water.