Two-year, $500,000 grant will improve health through clean water, sanitation and hygiene project

San Diego, CA (February 27, 2012) – PCI (Project Concern International) announced today it has received a $500,000 grant from the Starbucks Foundation for its Sidama Coffee Farmers Health through Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Project. The project is designed to improve the health outcomes of coffee farmers and their communities in two high-need areas in the Sidama Zone of Southern Ethiopia.  The grant is part of a long-term commitment by Starbucks and the Starbucks Foundation to support relevant local needs in coffee growing communities and a continuation of supporting integrated water and sanitation programs.

In Ethiopia, coffee farming is the primary source of income for many rural households, which also have some of the lowest coverage of water access, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) facilities and systems in Sub-Saharan Africa. Contamination of water sources from coffee washing facilities is also a concern in coffee growing regions.  According to figures used by Ethiopia’s Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, national sanitation coverage is 56% (2010), while according to the Sidama Zonal Health Department only 47% of households have latrines and clean water coverage is only 44%.

The two-year project is the second grant from the Starbucks Foundation to PCI, and PCI was among a limited number of organizations invited to submit a proposal to address pressing needs in coffee growing communities in Ethiopia.  PCI has been working with the Starbucks Foundation in Tanzania since 2009 on a water and sanitation project, including the construction and/or rehabilitation of 120 water points; construction of latrines in schools and households; and overall improvement of hygiene and sanitation practices.

“Starbucks and the Starbucks Foundation aim to help communities thrive by addressing relevant local needs. We are excited to partner with PCI in Ethiopia, to continue the success we’ve seen with its clean water and sanitation programs in Tanzania,” said Rodney Hines,  director, Starbucks Foundation.

PCI’s Sidama Coffee Farmers Project will result in 10,000 people with increased access to safe drinking water and 2,000 people with increased access to sanitation facilities. To promote sustainability of the project achievements, the project will also assist the Sidama Farmers Cooperative Union and its member farmers to engage in action planning to improve resource management. In addition, in order to increase equity of the participation of women in community decision making the project will also train 500 women in coffee farming communities in PCI’s women empowerment/micro-enterprise methodology. PCI will be working with Bright Image for Generation Association (BIGA), which has a long-term commitment to the sustainable social and economic development of the Sidama Zone.

“PCI is honored to work with the Starbucks Foundation again, reaching vulnerable populations with water and sanitation practices,” comments George Guimaraes, PCI’s CEO. “We are eager to bring our training and resources to the Sidama region to bring long-term impact and sustainable practices.”

In 2008, PCI partnered with the Starbucks Foundation on its public-awareness events in Los Angeles, Seattle, and New York City. PCI launched its own annual Walk for Water event in San Diego in 2009, raising over $150,000 for its global life-saving programs.  Students from 16 San Diego high schools plan the event, and 2000 participants simulate the journey that women and children make every day in developing countries to obtain water by carrying heavy jugs of water. Donations for the 2012 event will benefit a water system for remote villages in Ethiopia, as well as PCI’s lifesaving programs around the world.  For more information, visit


Celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2011, PCI (Project Concern International) is an international health, development and humanitarian assistance organization, operating in 16 countries worldwide. PCI is dedicated to saving lives and building healthy communities around the globe, benefitting over 6.7 million people annually in Asia, Africa and the Americas. Funded by federal grants and private support, PCI’s headquarters are located in San Diego, CA and the organization also has an office in Washington, DC and a Seattle, WA representative. PCI’s current annual budget is nearly $50 million and the organization has over 600 employees worldwide.