Last week I was honored to represent the PepsiCo Foundation at the launch of the AquaFund project in Mexico, a program that comprises financial support from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the PepsiCo Foundation, the Swiss Cooperation, and the government of Austria, to facilitate investment mainly in water supply and sanitation in underserved communities of Latin America and the Caribbean.

PepsiCo respects the human right to water and has committed, through its “Performance with Purpose” vision, to help protect and conserve global water supplies especially in water-stressed areas, as well as provide access to safe water.  In 2013, PepsiCo announced the achievement of its previously stated goal of partnering to provide access to safe water to three million people in developing countries by the end of 2015 and committed to an additional three million people by the end of 2015. To achieve this, PepsiCo has established partnerships with strategic organizations, like the IDB, who are innovators and can promote change with their ground-breaking initiatives.

The Mexican National Water Commission estimates that in rural communities’ more than 5.2 million people do not have access to safe water, while nearly 7.8 million do not have access to water sanitation services.  Mexico is the second country in Latin America and the Caribbean where the PepsiCo Foundation, in partnership with the IDB, is executing programs to provide access to safe water and sanitation to 500,000 people in the region by 2015.

AquaFund, with the support of the PepsiCo Foundation, provided USD $1,000,ooo to Mexico to develop an intervention model for dispersed rural communities in the states of Mexico, Veracruz, San Luis Potosi and Michoacan that will integrate social and technical elements to improve access to water supply and sanitation services for 2,000 Mexicans who live in extreme poverty.

“The IDB is delighted to expand the geographical reach of its partnership with PepsiCo. Together, we brought added momentum to an already robust water and sanitation movement, providing families in need the opportunity for improved quality of life,” said Bernardo Guillamon, manager of the IDB’s Office of Outreach and Partnerships. “Our work with PepsiCo reminds us that through partnerships like this, the opportunities are endless.”

We are confident the recommendations and best practices learned from this project will offer valuable input for public policy and will contribute to Mexico’s Government water and sanitation investments in rural disperse communities.

“For 40 years, the PepsiCo Foundation has supported projects that benefit extremely poor communities,” said Sue Tsokris, vice president, Global Citizenship & Sustainability – PepsiCo. “Our alliance with the IDB, our strategic partner in Latin America through the AquaFund, seeks to replicate these efforts to assist those most in need. In Mexico, these efforts are beginning to produce a positive impact in rural communities that face difficulties in providing water and sanitation.”

At PepsiCo we will continue to make innovative collaborations, to leverage our strengths and resources to make this great impact possible.