Water For People Receives Funding for Innovative Sanitation as a Business Program

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Water For People Receives Funding for Innovative Sanitation as a Business Program Grant Will Support Sustainable Sanitation Solutions in Africa, Asia, and Latin America

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation grant allows us to broaden and deepen our programmatic work. We hope to work in new ways to help increase impact, go to scale and ideally demonstrate to others that Sanitation as a Business is a powerful approach that can be replicated beyond our programs.

Water For People, a nonprofit international development organization, announced today receipt of a $5.6 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to support their innovative Sanitation as a Business program.

The grant represents a significant investment over four years in Water For People’s Sanitation as a Business work, testing possible sustainable sanitation services in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. This groundbreaking program seeks to revolutionize the sanitation sector. The program will combine profit incentives for small local companies and income generation programs for poor households and schools, demonstrating a shift from unsustainable, subsidy-based sanitation programs toward sustainable, profitable sanitation services. By merging business principles of market research and segmentation with comprehensive community involvement and thorough evaluation of results, Water For People aims to create a truly scalable model, expanding affordable sanitation coverage in multiple locations worldwide.

“Water For People is honored to receive this grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. It will allow us to test, improve and expand our entrepreneurial Sanitation as a Business program,” said Ned Breslin, Water For People CEO. “Ultimately, we seek to do more than bring sanitation to millions of people in developing countries. We seek to do so in a way that fundamentally transforms the sector. This model will challenge subsidy-driven, loan finance and passive private sector approaches to the global sanitation crisis.”

“Identifying profitable business models that engage local communities is critical to creating safe and sustainable sanitation systems,” said Rachel Cardone, program officer with Water, Sanitation & Hygiene at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “Water For People is developing and testing these kinds of models, which have the potential to scale up across regions and improve the health, economic, and social conditions of millions of poor people.”

Water For People first began experimenting with Sanitation as a Business principles in Malawi, Africa in 2008. Since then, sanitation entrepreneurs have developed ongoing maintenance relationships with households to service over 1,000 latrines.

Nick Burn, Water For People International Program Director explains, “This program is promising because in many respects it is not just about sanitation. Rather, it is about profit and services, using businesses as a vehicle for reaching far larger numbers of people with sanitation than traditional approaches have been able to do.”

“This is a significant grant for Water For People, and will allow us to build on the initiative already in place in Malawi and increase its capacity to spread beyond Malawi’s borders to benefit communities throughout Africa, Asia, and Latin America,” Burn continued. “The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation grant allows us to broaden and deepen our programmatic work. We hope to work in new ways to help increase impact, go to scale and ideally demonstrate to others that Sanitation as a Business is a powerful approach that can be replicated beyond our programs.”

For more information about Water For People and the organization’s initiative Sanitation as a Business, contact Peter Mason, Director of Marketing and Communications or visit the website at Water For People.

About Water For People
Founded in 1991, Water For People is an international, nonprofit humanitarian organization that focuses on long-lasting, safe drinking water resources and improved sanitation facilities in the developing world. While Water For People is in its 20th year of work it focuses not on creating a dependency on charity in the 11 countries it works in, but rather strengthening the ability of the local community to plan, build, finance, maintain and operate their own systems. The organization works in Africa, Asia, and Central and South America to show that its successful programs are adaptable around the world and can be replicated anywhere. Water for People is a charity of choice of the American water and wastewater community. For more information, visit Water For People.

CONTACT:    
Peter Mason
Water For People                            
720-488-4576

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