UN-Habitat in partnership with the Coca-Cola Foundation has launched a water, sanitation and hygiene project that will benefit over 8,000 students in 8 schools in Uganda. The project is expected to provide a model approach to improving water and sanitation in urban schools through collaboration with the private sector.

The ceremony, which was held on 26 April 2012 at Misindye C/U Primary School was attended by over 700 persons from the National and Local Governments, the participating Schools, and private companies in Uganda. Keynote Speakers at the event, included the Minister of Education, the Mayor of Mukono, the Managing Director of Century Bottlers, and UN-Habitat staff.

During the event the Minister of Education, Jessica Alupo appreciated the successful implementation of UN-Habitat's interventions under the Lake Victoria Water and Sanitation Program that benefited 263,629 people in Uganda. "l am convinced that this partnership between UN-Habitat and Coca-Cola towards providing safe drinking water and sanitation for the 8 schools in Uganda will be implemented successfully, l want to thank Coca-Cola and UN-Habitat for considering Uganda in this social development programme".

The Mayor of Mukono Municipality Mr. Muyanja Ssenyonga expressed his appreciation to UN-Habitat for this important initiative which would help to create a better urban future. The acting town clerk Mr. Josiah Sserunjogi welcomed the project and termed it as a case study which can later be replicated in other schools within the municipality. He also acknowledged the efforts of Coca-Cola and UN-Habitat and encouraged the private sector companies to get involved in community development activities. He further reiterated the commitment of the council to ensure that the facilities are well maintained once handed over to the council and the respective schools within the municipalities. The mayor also

Mr. Norton Kingwill the Managing Director for Century Bottling Company, a Coca Cola subsidiary welcomed the partnership between UN-Habitat and Coca-Cola which was part of the Company's vision to expand public-private water focused partnerships in Africa. He pointed out that the Project would expand access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation and promote behavioral change in hygiene practices among pupils and immediate communities. The project, he said, "is only the beginning".

Mr. James Lumbuye the UN-Habitat Chief Technical Advisor for Lake Victoria Water and Sanitation in Uganda said that sub-Saharan Africa is lagging behind other regions in meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for water and sanitation. These problems will not be overcome until every African has access to safe drinking water and adequate sanitation. UN-Habitat through this project seeks to work towards meeting the 10th target of the United Nations Millennium Development Goal 7 which is to reduce by half the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation.

"We are launching a project that is close to our hearts as the main beneficiaries will be children, the next generation of professionals and leaders. The program hopes to improve enrolment rates, reduce incidences of water borne diseases and boost knowledge transfer through behavior change among the pupils and parents," he said.