Today, more than 1 billion people around the world lack access to safe drinking water and approximately 2.5 billion don’t have adequate sanitation, making billions of people vulnerable to disease and other development challenges.

To help provide communities in need with access to safe drinking water and other basic necessities, The Coca-Cola Company, together with DEKA R&D, and other critical partners including development banks, NGOs and companies, launched EKOCENTER™ - a downtown in a box - with the Slingshot™ water purification system  housed within the community center. The EKOCENTER project aims to improve the holistic well-being of developing communities around the world, focusing on those within the Bottom of the Pyramid (BoP), the largest, poorest socio-economic group. Globally, this represents nearly 4 billion people who live on less than US$2 per day.

For more than 125 years, The Coca-Cola Company has been committed to making a positive, lasting difference in the local communities in which we operate. Through EKOCENTER, we are striving to continue this commitment. The project, which began as a pilot in South Africa in August 2013, will not only help deliver safe water and other necessities to some of the most remote and distressed areas of the world but also  empower community members, especially women, through entrepreneurship and employment opportunities.


EKOCENTER is a modularly designed kiosk with Slingshot at its core, transformed from  a 20-foot shipping container into a hub of community activity, offering  clean, safe drinking water, alongside other services, such as access to wireless communication, electricity, vaccination storage, and more tailored to address community needs. EKOCENTERTM strives to help communities thrive— each and every community member—from the people using EKOCENTERTM to the local entrepreneur operating it.


By 2015, we will place between 1,500 and 2,000 units in the form of EKOCENTERs, “downtowns in a box,” or Slingshot water purification systems to deliver further services beyond clean water, in Africa, Asia, Latin America and North America. Through this commitment, we aim to deliver 500 million liters of safe drinking water, while promoting greater local development in communities that need it most.

EKOCENTER Infographic

What is Slingshot technology?

Slingshot machine

What is Slingshot technology? Each EKOCENTER is equipped with Slingshot technology. The Slingshot water purification system—developed in partnership with DEKA R&D—uses vapor compression distillation (VCD) technology to turn any source of dirty water—river water, ocean water and even raw sewage—into safe, clean drinking water. The technology, invented by inventor and DEKA R&D President Dean Kamen, delivers approximately 800 liters of clean water daily at the hourly electricity cost of less than a standard handheld hair dryer (1kWh).

In 2012, our Company announced a partnership with DEKA R&D at the Clinton Global Initiative to deliver stand-alone Slingshot water purification systems to schools, community centers and health clinics in rural communities in countries throughout Africa, Asia and Latin America, and as an expansion of this partnership, Slingshot will be a key component of the EKOCENTER project.

In 2013, we are deploying units in Africa and Latin America. Building on current pilot work initiated in Paraguay, Mexico and South Africa by The Coca-Cola Company and DEKA R&D, the project will expand in early 2014 to additional markets.

Slingshot Fast Facts

  • The Slingshot is a vapor compression distillation system capable of cleaning and purifying any type of non-potable water into pure, clean water.
  • The technology operates in a similar way to that which nature itself cleans water—the system boils and evaporates any dirty water source and then allows pure water to condense and be collected.
  • One Slingshot unit can purify up to 300,000 litres of water each year—enough daily drinking water for roughly 300 people.
  • A slingshot can be powered by any power source that can provide 1 kilowatt of power.

Community participation and support are essential to the success of EKOCENTER, which is why we envision EKOCENTER being operated by local female entrepreneurs, complementing our 5by20 initiative, and with support from technology, development, and financial partners.

Slingshot: How It Works infographic

How We’re Doing This: The Golden Triangle

We recognize that partnership with other companies, NGOs and government partners is key to leverage collective thinking, experience, innovation, products and financial support to execute EKOCENTER in a thoughtful manner with long-term viability in mind. Working with business, government and civil society – what we call the “Golden Triangle” – is key to making a positive difference on global challenges.

With help from DEKA R&D, we have developed a partnership to support the EKOCENTER project. Their expertise enables us to do far more than we could alone. Here’s a list of our partners to date:
  • DEKA R&D
  • IBM
  • Inter-American Development Bank
  • NRG
  • Qualcomm
  • McCann Health
  • UPS
  • Technoserve

Global EKOCENTER Partnership logos


“EKOCENTER represents an investment in the future prosperity and progress of some of the most fragile and at-risk communities we serve,” said Muhtar Kent, Chairman and CEO, The Coca-Cola Company. “Through EKOCENTER we have the ability to change lives by offering access to safe drinking water and other needed resources, all while empowering local entrepreneurs. What started as an aspiration is now becoming a reality as we welcome our partners across the golden triangle of business, government and civil society to scale and improve this innovation.”