Evidence proves that financing works

Our strong evidence base proves that more lives can be changed through access to affordable financing for water and sanitation. Read this body of work supporting the use of financing to achieve universal access to safe water and sanitation.

WaterCredit and Women’s Empowerment

WSS programming has a disproportionate and potentially empowering impact on women borrowers

In the summer of 2020, Water.org took a fresh look at the impact data to understand the gendered impact of its unique financing model. The review confirmed that providing affordable financing for access to water and sanitation empowers women, allowing them to experience safe and secure facilities, increased time savings, and improved health, but there is still more to be done to amplify the empowering effects of water and sanitation financing.

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Unleashing capital to make safe water and sanitation available for all

Water.org strategy through 2022

By 2022, Water.org aspires to change 60 million lives with access to safe water and sanitation. To do this, Water.org joins forces with others to increase financing for water and sanitation, including partnering directly with institutions that serve the base of the economic pyramid, partnering to accelerate impact, and strengthening the enabling environment with and through others.

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Closing the financing gap for water and sanitation

Water.org and WaterEquity's current efforts to increase access to safe water and sanitation

Closing the financing gap for water and sanitation is critical to achieving universal, sustainable, and equitable access to water and sanitation. Water.org and WaterEquity address this significant capital barrier through access to affordable financing, tapping global capital markets to attract greater resources and enabling household-level loans for water and sanitation.

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Getting the Foundation Right Working Paper

Water.org-IRC-World Bank working paper, “Mobilising finance for WASH: getting the foundation right”

Water.org collaborated with Netherlands-based IRC and the World Bank Water Global Practice to highlight that new financial mechanisms designed to mobilise finance for water and sanitation are not enough to ensure that solutions and investments made now will be sustainable over time. Without addressing foundational issues in the sector, any finance mechanism, whether public, private or blended, will be a short-term, band-aid solution and the sector will continue the cycle of dependency on external assistance rather than fixing the root causes and building self-sufficiency. (March 2019)

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Financing SDG 6 Position Paper

Water.org-IRC position paper, “Financing WASH: how to increase funds for the sector while reducing inequities: Position paper for the Sanitation and Water for All Finance Ministers Meeting, April 20, 2017”

Water.org collaborated with Netherlands-based IRC to highlight issues critical to achieving sustainable access to water and sanitation, including: strengthening the enabling environment; utilizing micro and blended finance to their full potential; and resolving inequities in financing allocation. These recommendations support Ministers of Finance as they develop effective financing plans for their country, furthering progress toward achieving Sustainable Development Goal 6. (April 2017)

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A future that leaves no one behind

Huffpost OpEd reflecting on growing momentum for innovative financing for water and sanitation

In April 2017, Water.org Co-Founders Matt Damon and Gary White participated in the World Bank High Level Meetings on financing SDG 6 to discuss the financing gap between existing funding and what it will take to achieve universal access to safely-managed water and sanitation.

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Investing to end the global water crisis

WaterEquity is an innovation of Water.org that creates the opportunity for social impact investors to put their capital to work to achieve powerful social impact with financial returns. WaterEquity scales proven Water.org solutions, increasing the availability of small, affordable loans to meet the tremendous market demand for water and sanitation.

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Working with government to achieve its national and global goals

Summary document of how Water.org has supported India's largest sanitation campaign

Unlocking financial flows for water and sanitation in a country cannot be achieved in a vacuum. Engaging with various levels of government and altering regulations to be more supportive – creating an ‘enabling environment’ for water and sanitation outcomes – is a critical piece of the puzzle. “Helping India become open defecation-free: Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and Water.org” outlines how Water.org collaborated with various ministries and other actors in support of India’s massive sanitation campaign to help the country make serious inroads towards its goal of becoming open defecation free by 2019.

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Stanford Social Innovations Review

"Taps and Toilets for All"

Globally, 844 million people still lack basic water service—a drinking water source that is accessible within a 30-minute round trip from their home. Even more people, 2.3 billion, still do not have access to basic sanitation—a toilet or latrine that is not shared with other households. Many people who lack access to water and sanitation know exactly how to solve their problems. They may just need to connect to an existing water system, buy a toilet, or set up a rainwater harvesting system using readily available labor, technology, and materials. Their solutions are in plain sight if the appropriate financial tool was in place to assist them. This article reviews the rationale behind Water.org’s innovative financing mechanism to facilitate affordable access to water and sanitation services for all, especially those at the Base of the Economic Pyramid (Spring 2018).

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A Better World, Volume 3

“Accelerating towards universal access to clean water and sanitation – WaterCredit and beyond”

At three times current investment levels, the amount of funding needed to achieve SDG 6 is massive. Sole reliance on government and donor financing limit the pace at which the required investments can be made. New ways of harnessing domestic capital are needed at multiple levels. One approach is to mobilize more of the poor to invest in their own solutions: while the upfront cost of a toilet or a piped water connection can easily equal a household’s entire monthly income, many are willing to invest if they can spread that cost over time. This article looks at the WaterCredit approach to mobilizing finance to work for the world’s poor as well as additional ways of supporting the services that provide water and sanitation to the base of the economic pyramid. (March 2018)

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Global Learning Note

“Financing Water and Sanitation for the Poor: The role of microfinance institutions in addressing the water and sanitation gap”

Water and sanitation financing shows strong promise of supporting the ambitious Sustainable Development Goal 6 to end open defecation and ensure basic access to water and safe sanitation by 2030. Water.org and the Water and Sanitation Program of the World Bank’s Water Global Practice spotlight the positive impacts microfinance for water and sanitation provides households, microfinance institutions, governments, and low-income borrowers and their families. (October 2015)

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India Learning Note

“Financing Sanitation for the Poor: Household level financing to address the sanitation gap in India”

Financial institutions in India pioneered household level water and sanitation lending and have a strong track record of disbursing a large volume of toilet loans and working closely with local government and nongovernmental organization programs for social marketing and demand-generation. Water.org and the Water and Sanitation Program of the World Bank’s Water Global Practice cooperated on this Learning Note to highlight evidence and lessons learned for the Government of India and development partners to further integrate household level financing into the Clean India Campaign. (September 2015)

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WSS loans as income-enabling

“Income-enabling, Not Consumptive: Association of Household Socio-economic Conditions with Safe Water and Sanitation”

In some countries, Water.org has observed that financial institutions are less interested in offering microloans for water and sanitation because they are perceived to be more risky than income-generating loans. That perception does not consider how household access to water and sanitation assets enable household incomes to rise through increased availability of productive time. This paper, originally presented at 2015 Stockholm World Water Week, draws upon Water.org data to highlight the how water and sanitation microloans indirectly affect household income. (July 2016)

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Impact Assessment

“Water and Sanitation Microfinance Operations in India: An Assessment of Challenges & Determinants of Success”

The role microfinance can play in improving access to safe water supply and sanitation among low-income populations is gaining attention, especially in light of conversations around financing the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 6. Despite this increased attention, knowledge gaps remain regarding factors that hinder and facilitate the scale and sustainability of water and sanitation microfinance operations. This study examines the enablers and constraints that have shaped the performance of Water.org partner organizations in India between 2011 and 2015. (October 2016)

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GLAAS ESA overview

About Water.org

This overview, published in the biannual UN-Water Global Analysis and Assessment of Sanitation and Drinking-Water, presents Water.org’s achievements to date in empowering millions of people living in poverty to access drinking water and sanitation through the availability of affordable, targeted finance. (April 2019)

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International Finance Corporation "Operating Principles for Impact Management"

2021 Water.org Disclosure Statement

As a signatory, Water.org is aligned with the Operating Principles for Impact Management, which provides a reference point against which impact management systems of funds and institutions may be assessed. The Principles draw on emerging best practices and provide a framework for the development of strategic impact objectives, contributions and management of impact achievement, as well as the monitoring and assessment of impact. (June 2021). To download the 2020 Water.org Disclosure Statement, click here. To download the 2021 Verification Summary, click here.

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Evaluation of WaterCredit Program in Ethiopia

Launching WaterCredit in Ethiopia for the first time thanks to a generous grant from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation.

The WaterCredit program helped demonstrate to the Ethiopian government that financing for water supply and sanitation was not only scalable, but necessary to achieving universal and equitable access to safe water and sanitation for all Ethiopians. At the time of the evaluation, US$1.54 million in capital had been mobilized and 59,859 people across four regions in Ethiopia had been reached with access to water and sanitation.

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