Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Safe Water in Africa

By Saad Handoo
Second-year MBA student

Photo credits: Rohan Attravanam

Akwaaba! I just arrived in Ghana after a flight on Delta that included poor food, no in-flight entertainment, but a free upgrade to Economy Plus. Despite the subpar flight experience, it’s so great to touch foot in Africa for the first time in my life. Myself and a team of three other Kelley MBA 2nd years are participating in a novel program unveiled by MBA Office called Global Team Deployments. It’s here where seasoned business professionals test their experience by deploying on an international project with little to no information about the client or the task until in-country.

Our client is Coca-Cola in Equatorial Africa and our task is to collect stories from people in Ghana that have been beneficiaries of their ‘Safe Water in Africa’ initiative. Coke has embarked on a corporate social responsibility project to build community reputation and empower societies they operate in by funding water purification centers in rural villages. To date, they have completed 23 of these centers in Ghana through a partnership with Water Health International. Coke supplies the money and Water Health builds the purification plants. Our goal is to record what’s happening on the ground by talking to numerous stakeholders and using the information to write a business case on the Coke-Water Health partnership.

It’s just the first day, but I’m excited to visit a few water purification centers, hear from village elders, and tour the Coke bottling plant. But before I get out into the field, I need to catch up on some lost sleep. Our hotel is the Golden Tulip Inn located off Liberation Road in Accra. It’s already looking to be the perfect set up for rest and research. Two items that are huge on my agenda. Oh, and checking out the Accra Mall and Arts Center for souvenir shopping. 

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