Access to Safe Drinking Water, the Sustainable Way
PepsiCo Foundation has awarded two grants, totaling $76 million, to sustainable water and sanitation efforts by WaterPartners and Safe Water Network. The PR release describes each program. WaterPartners will use the award to implement their WaterCredit program:
The WaterCredit program in India has two main components: first, to provide traditional grant funding directly to local non-government organizations to install pipes, faucets and storage cellars in impoverished communities, reaching some 60, 000 people. The second component is to establish a loan fund that will empower communities to expand access to safe water for an additional 60, 000 people over the course of the three-year project. This model produces a “multiplier effect” for impact based on a single source of funding and is the first time PepsiCo Foundation has applied micro finance as a strategic vehicle to advance water and sanitation improvements.
The idea of building community-based water supply projects through a combination of grants and loans is new to the water sector. Until now, nearly all water projects facilitated by other organizations have been funded entirely by grants, even when the individuals served by the project have the means to share costs.
Bridging microfinance and water is a topic that NextBillion.net covered earlier this year, so this is a connection that is working well in some regions and with the support of different organizations, such as ACCESS Development Services and Hindustan Unilever Limited. The vision behind this is that communities may not be able to afford methods that purify water and make it safe for drinking, but using microfinance models allows them to collectively take a loan and repay until they eventually purchase the system.
Safe Water Network will focus on developing water systems and raising awareness around the issue:
Working with non-governmental and community organizations and the private sector, SWN will address the critical water needs of nearly a quarter million people by supporting the development and implementation of water systems that will reliably provide neglected populations with safe, affordable water. The methods include rainwater harvesting, village-level water systems and “water kiosks.” Safe Water Network programs also work to mobilize and educate communities to raise awareness and provisions to create and maintain permanent clean water supplies. SWN will receive $3.5 million during a three-year period based on annual progress.