Attending World Water Week? Join us for a seminar examining the role of U.S. philanthropy in solving the global WASH crisis. Detailed information on the seminar’s theme and structure is below.
Stockholm, Sweden — World Water Week conference venue, room K2
Wednesday, August 29th (9AM – 12:30PM)
Follow @WASHfunders for live tweets at the time of the session
This seminar will describe the unique role of U.S.-based foundations in the WASH sector, particularly how philanthropic capital differs from other funding sources, and how those differences can catalyze further funding, support greater advocacy efforts, and spur innovation. Key topics will include: lessons learned and best practices from funded programs; the role of philanthropy in leveraging resources and working collaboratively to increase funding, sustainability, and effectiveness of programs; and a demonstration of WASHfunders.org. Case studies will be presented by five foundations and their grantees through dialogues about opportunities, successes, and challenges of foundation-funded programs.
09:00 Opening Remarks and Seminar Overview. Mr. Edmund J. Cain, Conrad N. Hilton Foundation
09:10 Overview of U.S. Philanthropy. Mr. Brad Smith & Dr. Seema Shah, The Foundation Center
09:30 Foundation Strategies and Grantee Case Studies on Innovation, Advocacy, Learning and Leveraging of Resources in the Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Sector — Opportunities, Successes and Challenges. Moderator: Mr. Brad Smith, The Foundation Center
- Innovation & Multiple Use Services
Mr. John Thomas, Rockefeller Foundation & Dr. Mary Renwick, Winrock International
Dr. Braimah Apambire, Conrad N. Hilton Foundation & Mr. John Oldfield, WASH Advocates
- Scale & Sustainability
Mr. Louis Boorstin, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation & Mr. Ned Breslin, Water For People
- Learning from Partnerships
Mr. Paul Hicks, Catholic Relief Services & Mr. Peter Lochery, CARE
- Reporting & Transparency/Social Entrepreneurship
Mr. David Rothschild, Skoll Foundation & Mr. Ned Breslin, Water For People
11:00 Coffee Break
11:30 Reflections from Panelists/Attendees; Conversations/Additional Q&A, Moderator: Mr. Brad Smith, The Foundation Center
12:00 Demonstration of WASHfunders.org. Dr. Seema Shah, The Foundation Center
12:20 Conclusions and Way Forward. Mr. Brad Smith, The Foundation Center
12:30 Close of Seminar
For the full seminar listing in the World Water Week online programme, click here.
Editor’s Note: This blog post was written by John Oldfield, CEO of WASH Advocates. WASH Advocates is a nonprofit advocacy effort in Washington, DC entirely dedicated to helping solve the global safe drinking water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) challenge. Its mission is to increase awareness of the global WASH challenge and solutions, and to increase the amount and effectiveness of resources devoted to solving the problem around the developing world. For more information, visit www.WASHadvocates.org.
“Forty years ago today, Apollo 16 landed on the moon… By anyone's standards it was a triumph of science, technology, and political will. I remember so many of us thinking that if humankind can do this, what could humankind NOT accomplish?” UNICEF executive director Anthony Lake continued on April 20 at the Sanitation and Water for All High Level Meeting in Washington, DC: “… and yet today, over 1.1 billion people still practice open defecation because they don't have access to the most basic sanitation facilities… If two generations ago we could land men on the moon, we can and must also afford people here on earth two of their most basic human rights — safe water and basic sanitation — because until we do, development progress will falter."
On April 19-20, 2012 in Washington, DC dozens of finance ministers and water ministers from throughout the developing world gathered to make stronger commitments to solving the WASH challenge in their respective countries. They were joined at the meeting by development cooperation ministers from donor countries, including the USAID Administrator Raj Shah. During the event, Administrator Shah made history by announcing that the U.S. government has joined this global partnership aimed at universal coverage of safe drinking water and sanitation.
Why does this fundamental global safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) challenge continue to exist today? The most intriguing answer is when people respond: “The problem is not solved because of a lack of political will.” Once that statement is made, no matter how accurate it is, the conversation typically dies, because most people look at politicians as part of the problem, not part of the solution, and strong political will often proves elusive.
This is why I consider the Sanitation and Water for All High Level Meeting arguably the most important meeting of 2012: political will is what we saw in Washington, DC on April 19-20. And it is political will that leads to sustainable WASH programs implemented at scale community by community, country by country.
The WASH grantmaking community, both foundations and corporate leaders, can take away a few lessons from the Sanitation and Water for All (SWA) Partnership and its April meeting:
- Strengthening the evidence base of success is important. The Sanitation and Water for All process isn’t simply for finance ministers and other high-level political leaders to dialogue. The SWA Partnership focuses on strengthening the evidence base of success in the global WASH sector, and using that evidence base to strengthen political will. Political leaders country by country need to hear about WASH from their people. Those political leaders also need to understand how they can help solve the challenges. The SWA process facilitates both, and donors looking for ”exit strategies” need to think more consciously about what it takes to inspire a government at any level to scale up your work. The exit strategy for the most successful WASH programming is “Get the job done,” and universal coverage of WASH requires the highest levels of political support.
- Better alignment is key. Too often, donor efforts are not aligned with governments, NGOs, or other donors; this can lead to unsustainable, inappropriate, and/or duplicative programming. Members of the SWA include bilaterals (e.g. U.S., U.K., Netherlands, Japan, Australia), dozens of developing countries, multilaterals like the African Development Bank, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Many have joined the SWA in part to make sure their assistance is better aligned both with the need and with the actual plans and progress that developing countries are making. SWA partners also aim to make sure their assistance is better coordinated with each other's plans as donors as well. An example of this approach is the support that the Gates Foundation provides to the Water and Sanitation Program, a private partnership administered by the World Bank.
- Linkages between economic growth and WASH need to be better quantified and communicated. What gets the attention of finance ministers? Arguably, it is not the morbidity and mortality associated with unsafe water and inadequate sanitation, but rather the increased productivity that safe, affordable, and sustainable water and sanitation offer an economy. The World Health Organization estimates that each dollar invested in WASH returns on average eight dollars in increased economic productivity and decreased health care costs. But how many of us know that inadequate sanitation cost India the equivalent of 6.4% of its GDP in 2008? Or that it cost Bangladesh 6.3% of its GDP in 2007? How many of us incorporate this and other cross-sectoral linkages into both our programs and our communications efforts as effectively as we could?
Beyond the SWA Partnership, many other ongoing efforts illustrate these same points and deserve a closer look: strengthening community water board associations in Latin America; building the capacity of national and sub-national civil society WASH networks in Africa; donors and nonprofits partnering early and directly with mayors in developing countries instead of just inviting them to ribbon-cutting ceremonies; and bringing creative and leveraged business and financial approaches into the water and sanitation sector.
Clearly donors (in Europe, the United States, and beyond) need to continue direct funding of safe drinking water and sanitation programs around the world. However, government and private donors also need to increase their financial and technical support for initiatives that strengthen the capacity of developing countries to solve the water and sanitation challenges themselves.
If, as Tony Lake says, we can send a man to the moon forty years ago, we as a planet can certainly solve our water challenges today. The Sanitation and Water for All Partnership illustrates some of the lessons and approaches that will make the private and corporate philanthropic communities an even more important part of the solution.
Unilever, a multinational conglomerate based in the United Kingdom and Netherlands, has announced the launch of a global foundation that will work to improve the quality of life for people around the globe through the provision of improved hygiene, sanitation, access to clean drinking water, and basic nutrition.
Announced last month at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum, the Unilever Foundation has formed partnerships with Oxfam, Population Services International, Save the Children, UNICEF, and the World Food Programme to accomplish its mission. The foundation also will provide direct funding, in-kind donations, expertise, and employee support to other organizations around the globe that are working to address country-specific challenges aligned with its goals.
For example, the foundation's partnership with Oxfam will focus on programs that empower individuals and deliver good nutrition and clean drinking water, while its support for PSI will target efforts designed to improve the health of children and families through behavioral change interventions focused on hand washing, clean drinking water, and sanitation. Save the Children will use funds from the foundation to increase access to health workers, life-saving vaccines, and high-impact health and nutrition programs, while UNICEF will focus on expanding its Community Approaches to Total Sanitation (CATS) initiative, a program that promotes good hygiene practices and raises awareness of the sanitation crisis in the developing world. Last but not least, WFP will partner with the foundation to boost Project Laser Beam, a public-private partnership that aims to create a scalable, sustainable model to improve nutrition, health, and livelihoods in Bangladesh and Indonesia.
"We live in a rapidly changing world. One where populations are growing, water is becoming increasingly scarce, and where food security is a growing issue," said Unilever chief marketing and communications officer Keith Weed. "Unilever is committed to addressing the unmet social needs that our business can play a unique role in helping to solve....Together with our partners, we will deliver life-saving solutions as we work toward achieving these ambitious goals."
Source: “Unilever Launches Global Foundation.” Unilever Press Release 1/27/12.
For additional WASH-related philanthropy news, see the news feed on WASHfunders.org.
The Foundation Center is pleased to announce the launch of WASHfunders.org. Designed with philanthropic donors in mind, WASHfunders.org gives funders a “one stop shop” for the data and information they need to improve water access, sanitation, and hygiene around the world.
Though grantmakers are the primary audience for the site, we suspect that others interested in this urgent issue, including policymakers, practitioners, journalists, researchers, and the public, will find valuable resources on the site.
The site’s central feature is an interactive mapping application that shows where foundation grants are going, to which organizations, and for what purpose. WASHfunders.org is the first and only site with this critical data. What’s more, foundation funding flows are shown within the context of international aid funding and key development indicators, providing a robust picture of the WASH landscape in any given country or region.
WASHfunders.org also provides free access to a broad set of knowledge resources, including:
- Funder profiles documenting the WASH strategies of leading foundations;
- Case studies that illustrate the successes and challenges of WASH projects around the world;
- Tools and resources for assessing project outcomes; and
- A searchable archive of research reports recommended by sector leaders
We’ll be using the Inside View section of the site to highlight site content, update you on new features, and share newsworthy events in the WASH sector, all with a philanthropic lens. To get Inside View posts delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for e-mail updates on the site’s home page.
In the meantime, help us spread the word about this exciting new resource. Tweet about us. Blog about us. Tell your friends and colleagues.
And, as always, let us know what you think of the site and how we can make the site as useful and user-friendly as possible. Our team can be reached at email@example.com.
WASHfunders.org was created with generous support from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation. Read the full press release here.