In the context that many provinces and cities in Vietnam are still "calling for help" due to the lack of clean water, poor households, and low women's economic capacity, many social enterprises have been established and are investing in the activities carrying out the mission to bring many practical benefits to the community, and contributing to solving these pressing problems, thereby gradually improving the lives of the locals.

In Cua Lo Town, Nghe An Province, pure water is the top concern of the people. Mr. Vuong Dinh Thang, living in Nghi Hai Ward said: “Apart from those who have a sense of cleanliness and do not litter, there are still quite a lot of people who are not conscious and do not dispose of garbage properly at the prescribed places, thereby negatively affecting the urban landscape and community water resources.”

Agreeing with this opinion, Mr. Mai Van Chung, Truong Can (Nghe An) Party Cell Secretary, shared that at present, the clean water program has been more popular but the problem of communicating about clean water solutions has not been fully resolved. “The water source must be clear and clean at the same time. Littering is in a state of alert which makes clean water even more scarce,” said Mr. Chung.

As Mr. Chung explained, Cua Lo is located in a special area where the upstream and downstream are the two rivers. In rainy seasons, this place becomes a "gathering point" of floodwater and waste from the watershed, polluting the water source and seriously degrading the beauty of Cua Lo beach. Facing a situation that attracted the attention of the society, the Executive Board of the Cua Lo Town Tourism Association and a beverage company joined hands to bring good news to the locals by establishing EKOCENTER,  a community activity center that will serve the people of Cua Lo town. At the same time, Society 19/5 Co., Ltd. was also established to run EKOCENTER Cua Lo, maximizing the effectiveness of this model.

This spring, hundreds of households in Cua Lo town had a new place for community activities and economic development

Mr. Vo Manh Chung (Director of the social enterprise 19/5, running EKOCENTER Nghe An) shared that the goal of 19/5 Co. Ltd is to bring utilities to the community, including a clean water source. “The EKOCENTER model with the management of local social enterprises and the Cua Lo Town Tourism Association will contribute to promoting more practical activities to improve people’s quality of life, and enhancing the local strengths to bolster economic development and build a sustainable community," Mr. Vo Manh Chung added.

EKOCENTER is the model considered as a "fairy house" in real life for practical contributions to the lives of many people. Being Coca-Cola's global initiative launched in 2013, partnering with government agencies and the social business community, EKOCENTER has "spread" throughout Vietnam with a total of 12 centers after 5 years.

One of the main operational goals of EKOCENTER is to provide adequate clean water to serve the needs of local people so that poor households will not be in shortage of clean water. On average, each EKOCENTER can provide 6,000 liters of pure water per day to 3,000 residents - a significant amount contributing to "refreshment" with clean drinking water for the locals. Many people could not hide their joy in gaining access to the long-awaited clean water.

Moving from clean water to improved health is not a very long journey. In parallel with the implementation of the clean water plant, EKOCENTER also makes efforts to solve health problems and improve the health of the community with many regular medical examinations and treatment activities. According to Mr. Vuong Dinh Thang, Nghi Hai Ward’s resident, people here are very supportive of EKOCENTER's activities: “The free medical examination and treatment program of EKOCENTER helps people live healthier and prevent many diseases. There are up to 80% of the local people participating in meaningful and practical activities organized by EKOCENTER.”

Many people in Cua Lo Town participate in the medical examination and treatment program of EKOCENTER Nghe An

Head back down to the western region to explore Community Activity Centers here. Water quality in the Mekong Delta region has been significantly degraded in recent years due to the impacts of drought and saline intrusion caused by climate change, in addition to other factors such as wastewater pollution, solid waste, and pesticides. Therefore, the establishment of EKOCENTER in Dong Thap is considered to be extremely timely and positive. With a 3-in-1 design, EKOCENTER Dong Thap's new social enterprise model is equipped with a department store, a community center with a library, computers, and an entertainment area.

Nationwide EKOCENTERs can provide 6,000 liters of clean water a day to the locals

According to Ms. Ta Thu Thuy, Director of Dong Thap EKOCENTER, about 1,000 people will benefit directly from this model that presents humanity and sustainable development. “EKOCENTER, which is the place for people to live and entertain, has solved the issue of clean water and organizes training and knowledge-raising activities for poor households, women and the people of Dong Thap. Through the social enterprise model, I hope that in the future, EKOCENTER will be brought to more and more places across the country to reach those in need and help them overcome difficulties,” said Ms. Thuy.

Not only empowering the locality to proactively develop its economy, but EKOCENTER also focuses on the characteristics of the region, such as traditional craft villages and local culture, for comprehensive sustainable development. Located in the village of Thanh Toan tile bridge (Hue), the EKOCENTER run by Ms. Dang Thi Duong, which is currently trading the necessities of the Center, will provide necessary products for residents and tourists such as drinking water and coffee, specialties of Hue, etc. Especially, EKOCENTER will deduct a portion of profits from business activities here to reinvest and develop social programs. “For example, profits will be used to train for jobs such as tourist guides, barista, cooking, arts, and crafts, baking, etc. to help people develop new services and products. Creating jobs for people also contributes to the tourism development of Thanh Toan and the development of this trade village in a sustainable way,” Ms. Duong added.

Besides, EKOCENTER is also the place where meaningful cultural, environmental, and charity activities take place. Among them is the annual Tet holiday program ‘Quà vui Tết’ with Coca-Cola. After 14 consecutive years, Coca-Cola has given a total of nearly 35,000 Tet gifts to people in difficult circumstances to enjoy a happy new year. With the presence of 12 EKOCENTERs in the past few years, Tet holiday programs have become more and more meaningful because not only love is shared though the gifts but the people also have a community place to gather during the holiday.

People in Ha Phong Ward (Ha Long City) receive New Year gifts from Coca-Cola Vietnam in the activity series of Spring Journey of the Rat year 2020.

From providing clean water, being a place for living and playing, bringing many life supporting programs for poor households, to enhancing the capacity of local women through training courses to improve knowledge and skills, we can say that EKOCENTER has been taking care of all aspects both physically and mentally so that the community can have a better and more comprehensive life

EKOCENTER is a global initiative by Coca-Cola, cooperating with social and private organizations based on public-private partnerships. In Vietnam, the first EKOCENTER was launched in 2015 and has expanded to 12 units nationwide by 2019. EKOCENTER covers 3 main focus areas of Coca-Cola's sustainable development strategy, which is clean water, women empowerment, and enhancing people’s well-being.