By Daniel Sabiiti
Communities in Ruhunda in Gishari, Rwamagana district have started reaping big from a Coca-Cola’s EKOCENTER which was funded by Coca Cola a global beverages company. It’s at this community center where water purification system is transforming the lives.
EKOCENTER is a modular community market that is run by a local woman entrepreneur and also provides safe water, solar power, Internet access, and more. The center, launched by President Paul Kagame, and Muhtar Kent, the Chairman and CEO of the Coca-Cola Company in June 2016, has become a symbol of hope for Ruhunda residents.
“For example residents used to travel long distances to make a photocopy and send an email but with the 4G internet and solar power, now residents have full access to the global village” said Charles Bahati a resident of Gishari sector.
Bahati says that the transport fees which was used in other projects can today be saved for family support as a result of services provided by the Ekocenter.
The Rwamagana based center is flagship site initiated by Coca cola as a result of President Paul Kagame visiting Coca-Cola’s Atlanta headquarters in 2013, and Chairman and CEO Muhtar Kent promised to reciprocate with a trip to the fast-growing African nation when the company had established an Ekocenter.
The solar-powered facility provides up to 25,000 local residents with access to a range of services – including wireless Internet, mobile charging and purified water. It also includes a retail store, improved medical services.
Pierre Regis Munyaneza, an employees at the Health center, says that “residents have benefited from many services especially the echography tests, and the equipment has been maintained to last for more years in good condition.
Coca-Cola and its partners have opened more than 100 Ekocenters in seven countries. By the end of 2016, the company plans to open at least 177 EKOCENTERs in 10 countries serving a potential population of approximately 1 million people.
Ekocenters act as both a community center and general store. The kiosks are modular by design to allow local communities to customize a site to their needs.