Water For People Announces Investment from Case Foundation to Expand Sustainable Safe Water Solutions in Africa

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Water For People today announced a transformative investment from the Case Foundation to accelerate and expand its efforts to provide innovative, sustainable water solutions in Africa. This investment will be used to support a dramatic expansion of Water For People's programs, harnessing the power of local entrepreneurs to provide sustainable operations and maintenance support for a portfolio of community water solutions in Malawi, Rwanda, and Uganda.

Water For People is a passionate leader in this effort. These investments will allow Water For People to expand its offerings and leverage the power of the local private sector to end water poverty and transform lives.

Water For People today announced a transformative investment from the Case Foundation to accelerate and expand its efforts to provide innovative, sustainable water solutions in Africa. This investment will be used to support a dramatic expansion of Water For People's programs, harnessing the power of local entrepreneurs to provide sustainable operations and maintenance support for a portfolio of community water solutions in Malawi, Rwanda, and Uganda.

“Water For People views social entrepreneurship and innovation as a critical but underutilized element of sustainable water solutions,” said Ned Breslin, CEO of Water For People. “We are honored to be associated with the Case Foundation, which has been a leader in social entrepreneurship and is committed to bringing sustainable water solutions to those who need it most. This alliance will help unleash the power of the local private sector as a resource for development. Our shared goal is to dramatically improve the sustainability of a variety of rural water technologies, leading to a world where safe, sustainable water supplies are the norm not the exception.”

Water For People’s expansion efforts will be focused first in Malawi, then in Rwanda and Uganda, to stimulate and scale up innovative models using the local private sector’s capacity to provide on-going operation, maintenance and repair services for an array of community water technologies. This will include an expansion of Water For People’s successful “circuit rider” program, where communities hire local entrepreneurs for effective operations and maintenance services that enhance water source sustainability.

As part of these efforts, PlayPumps International will be contributing its inventory of manufactured pumps to Water For People, broadening the technology options to be offered to communities. The combined, new resources announced today by Water For People total roughly $2M of funds, assets, and in-kind support, complementing almost $2M of direct funding from Water For People’s program base in Africa.

“We and others in the water sector have become increasingly aware that bringing safe water to those who need it most requires new and innovative approaches to give communities a choice of solutions and to ensure truly sustainable supplies,” said Jean Case, CEO of the Case Foundation. “Water For People is a passionate leader in this effort. These investments will allow Water For People to expand its offerings and leverage the power of the local private sector to end water poverty and transform lives.”

In the developing world, sustainability of community water supplies remains elusive largely due to limited technology options and poor on-going operation and maintenance results. Water For People aims to transform the rural water sector by demonstrating alternative models that place social entrepreneurs at the forefront of water sector development to significantly reduce community water project failure and scale efforts in new ways. Successful safe water system implementation requires a vibrant private sector that can help ensure access to affordable and reliable services that keep systems operational, spare parts available, and technical support for challenges beyond the community’s capacity accessible -- all built around a sound understanding of water sector policies, practices, and strategies.

Within this framework, Water For People will use the resources announced today to accelerate and expand its programs around the following core elements:

  • Engagement of the private sector --- A key goal of the program is to unleash the power of the local private sector as a resource for community development. Initially focused on Water For People’s existing program in Malawi, and then expanding to Rwanda, Uganda and elsewhere over time, Water For People will offer proven entrepreneurial approaches, training and capacity building of local private sector partners to service a market for the ongoing operation, maintenance, and repair of community water systems. The program will also demonstrate ways that the local private sector can play a key role in eradicating water poverty.
  • Deployment of safe water system technologies coupled with innovative operation and maintenance approaches --- Rural villages will be offered a portfolio of safe water system technologies (e.g. hand pumps, rope pumps, PlayPumps, etc.) in order to “road test” opportunities for scale. Private sector approaches for operation and maintenance of these systems -- a key element of sustainability -- will also be implemented. The emphasis will be on proven models, such as the use of local, independent contractors, or “circuit riders,” to service water infrastructure and ensure sustainable supply chains.
  • Long-Term Monitoring --- Water For People is incorporating its long-term, 10-year community monitoring initiative into this program, utilizing the World Water Corps® volunteer program. World Water Corps volunteers will offer professional and technical support including mapping, baseline data for development, capacity building for local stakeholders, and monitoring and evaluation of past and current projects.

About Water For People
Founded in 1991, Water For People is a Denver-based private, nonprofit international humanitarian organization that supports the development of sustainable safe drinking water resources and improved sanitation facilities in developing countries. The nongovernmental organization is distinguished by its focus on local private sector development, inter-organization collaboration, social entrepreneurship, and the engagement of stakeholders, which combine together to achieve sustainability. The organization has active water, sanitation, and hygiene education programs in 10 countries in Africa, Asia, and Central and South America. Water For People is a charity of choice of the American water and wastewater community. For more information, visit http://www.waterforpeople.org.

About the Case Foundation
Jean and Steve Case established the Case Foundation in 1997 to reflect their family’s commitment to finding lasting solutions for complex social challenges. The Foundation invests in people and ideas that can change the world. The Case Foundation is committed to solving the global safe water challenge and to championing new methods of social entrepreneurship in the water sector. In 2006, the Foundation made a three-year investment in PlayPumps International, a fundraising and awareness organization dedicated to providing African communities with safe water. The Foundation will continue to champion new models for social entrepreneurship and seeks to broaden the use of new technologies to make giving more informed, efficient, and effective. For more information, visit http://www.casefoundation.org.

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