Co-operative to promote clean water for Africa campaign

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Co-operative: funding PlayPumps

Co-operative and Somerfield customers are now providing fresh, clean drinking water for 1m people in Africa, and the retailer is marking the milestone with a campaign to encourage more customers to support ‘water for water’ projects.

The Co-operative partnered with the One Foundation, which provides innovative PlayPump water systems in Africa, three years ago to bring life-saving water to some of the poorest and most remote communities in the world.

Since the beginning of the partnership, a percentage of the sales from The Co-operative’s own-brand range of mineral water – Fairbourne Springs – has gone directly towards installing roundabout pumps in South Africa, Lesotho, Malawi and Swaziland. The provision of the pumps has transformed the lives of whole communities, especially for many women and children, who may have previously spent hours each day walking to collect water.

The campaign will communicate the ‘1m people’ message via in-store communications and social media activity. The retailer, which claims to have the largest in-store digital TV network in Europe, will also be using The Co-operative web site , Twitter, Facebook and YouTube to get the message across.

The YouTube link features Tom Mills, The Co-operative’s soft drinks buyer, speaking to children and villagers in Swaziland about the difference the provision of a PlayPump has made to them.

Sean Toal, commercial director – Food Retail at The Co-operative, said: “Co-operative and Somerfield customers have really got behind this initiative. To provide clean and safe water for so many is an incredible achievement, which has literally been life-changing for the people concerned.”

All the communications feature real-life case studies focusing on individual people whose lives have been changed thanks to the initiative.  One of the case studies tells the story of 12-year-old Lerato Mogap, who used to spend three hours a day gathering water for her sick mum and younger brother. Now the PlayPump has been installed in her village, Skuinsdrift, in the North West Province of South Africa, Lerato now uses this precious time studying towards her dream of becoming a nurse.

The Fairbourne Springs range has also been revamped with a fresh new look to coincide with the communications campaign.

Sales have been boosted by The Co-operative Group’s acquisition of Somerfield last year, as the consumer-owned retailer has continued its commitment to ethical trading, extending its reach to the enlarged estate.

Co-operative and Somerfield customers have now raised enough money to fund some 400 pumps in Africa, where new installations are being approved every week. The amount of clean drinking water this will provide equates to 140 Olympic-sized swimming pools – and means 1m people will have access to clean, safe water.

The innovative PlayPump water systems are powered by roundabouts, which children play on and pump water up to a storage tank for use by the whole community. The PlayPumps are so popular with the youngsters there is never a shortage of “volunteers”, and the highly-efficient pumps also produce excess water for irrigation purposes.

For further details on the project, customers can visit  HYPERLINK “http://www.co-operative.coop/food/ethics/fairbourne-water/” http://www.co-operative.coop/food/ethics/fairbourne-water/