Updated Jan 15, 2021

WaterCredit: Scaling Financing for Household Water and Sanitation Solutions

https://water.org/

Ashley Brown morris

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Water.org works to accelerate access to household water and sanitation through affordable finance.

We break down barriers between people and access to safe water and sanitation by working across three levels of impact: DIRECT: We provide technical support to local partners that work directly with people living in poverty to catalyze and normalize the provision of dedicated water and sanitation loans and strengthen the supply chain of affordable, reliable water and sanitation products. Wh...
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We break down barriers between people and access to safe water and sanitation by working across three levels of impact: DIRECT: We provide technical support to local partners that work directly with people living in poverty to catalyze and normalize the provision of dedicated water and sanitation loans and strengthen the supply chain of affordable, reliable water and sanitation products. While water and sanitation loans may seem obvious, many lenders perceive the risks of lending for purposes that are not obviously income-generating to be prohibitively high. COLLECTIVE: We collaborate with organizations who wield high degrees of influence to bring water and sanitation lending to those in poverty, such as working with microfinance associations to spread the model, with UNICEF to leverage their Behavior Change Communication activities, and with utilities to extend infrastructure into unserved areas. This also includes expanding impact investing through WaterEquity, a Water.org innovation that deploys investment capital into the water and sanitation sector. SYSTEMS: Our Direct and Collective impact work seeks to mainstream water and sanitation lending, partner by partner. True systemic change, however, requires an enabling financial and regulatory environment that encourages WASH finance. Therefore, we work to influence policies and practices, making them conducive for water and sanitation lending - now and in the future.
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Stage 5: Scaling

Through our financial and utility partners, 6.8 million loans have been given to low-income families to construct or connect to water or sanitation facilities, providing access to more than 31 million people, eight million in the past year alone.

Focus Areas:

Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), Social & Micro Finance and Enabling Environment

Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), Social & Micro Finance and Enabling EnvironmentSEE LESS

Implemented In:

Bangladesh, India, Kenya and 10 MoreSEE ALL

Bangladesh, India, Kenya, Uganda, Peru, Indonesia, Philippines, Cambodia, Ghana, Ethiopia, Brazil, Tanzania and MexicoSEE LESS

31,200,000
Lives Impacted to Date
13
Countries Implemented In
124
Employees

Problem

Today, 785 million people (1 in 9) lack access to safe water. Two billion people (1 in 3) lack access to a toilet. Those living without these basic services are caught in a cycle of poverty, unable to afford permanent solutions in their homes. This comes at a cost to women's empowerment, health, the economy, education, and the environment. One of the major barriers to safe water and sanitation is access to affordable credit, as people living in poverty often lack the savings for upfront costs.

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Solution

The WaterCredit initiative stimulates local lenders to provide small, affordable loans specifically for water connections and/or toilets to people who lack access and savings. To date, this approach has reached more than 31 million people across Africa, Asia & Latin America. With our encouragement and technical assistance, 160 financial and utility partners have provided $2.5 billion in water and sanitation loans to people living in poverty.

Target Beneficiaries

WaterCredit targets people who live on $1-6 per day. These are individuals who have enough income to make regular repayments against a water and sanitation loan, but who often lack the savings to pay upfront for facilities and services and cannot access loans at affordable interest rates. WaterCredit's success demonstrates that when provided with loans that are tailored to their needs, many low-income families choose to invest in long-term water and sanitation improvements.

Mission and Vision

We envision a day when everyone, everywhere has access to safe water and sanitation. We seek to do more, faster, and in partnership with others to unlock the flow of financing for water and sanitation.

Competitive Advantage

There is not enough charity in the world to address the water and sanitation crisis. Our WaterCredit model takes small amounts of charity and leverages it to catalyze private investment, setting an industry example for blended finance approaches to WASH that can fundamentally disrupt the dead-end cycle of overreliance upon development and donor funds and develop sustainable financial solutions. Empowering people with small, affordable loans makes them part of the solution: the personal investment that is committed though the loan results in a water or sanitation facility that people use and maintain over time. WaterCredit is a tool that complements national objectives, helping create a WASH finance ecosystem. Through this approach, people who previously depended on charity or government assistance are now paying for their solutions themselves. This allows philanthropy to be more effectively targeted at the ultra-poor.

The Team Behind the Innovation

Water.org was co-founded by established WASH expert, Gary White and actor Matt Damon in 2009. Alongside our Co-founders, our Executive Team includes President Jennifer Schorsch (formerly Regional Vice President at Starbucks) and Chief Global Impact Officer Vedika Bhandarkar (formerly Managing Director at Credit Suisse Securities (India) and J.P. Morgan). We have locally-staffed country offices in India, Bangladesh, Kenya, Indonesia, Philippines and Peru.

EXECUTIVE TEAM INCLUDES WOMEN

Milestone

Sep 2020
Lives Impacted
31,200,000
Apr 2019
New Country Implemented In
Mexico
Dec 2003
New Country Implemented In
India
Jan 2003
New Country Implemented In
Bangladesh
Jan 2003
Created

Supporting Materials

Water-orientation-null.org-Overview-Brochure.pdf
WaterCredit-Overview-Brochure-orientation-null.pdf