Bright students solving the water crisis

“The experience of this competition and partnership with the Hult International Business School has been remarkable. We’re eager to explore the winning idea as well as many elements of other submissions to drive the real system change needed to reach everyone with safe water in our lifetime," said Gary White, co-founder of Water.org.

Press Release

WATER.ORG CHALLENGES THE WORLD’S BRIGHTEST & MOST AMBITIOUS BUSINESS SCHOOL STUDENTS TO TACKLE CRITICAL, GLOBAL WATER CRISIS

Hult International Business School Global Case Challenge Crowd Sources Solutions, With Help from the Clinton Global Initiative

New York, NY – (BusinessWire May 10, 2011 11:00 AM Eastern Time) President Bill Clinton announced Cambridge University as the winner of the 2nd Annual Hult Global Case Challenge, the largest crowd sourcing initiative to date focused on identifying solutions to the global water crisis. The Cambridge team was selected by a panel of judges from an international competition of 150 teams from around the world.

During his comments President Clinton said, “There is always a gap between what the private sector can produce and the government can provide.” He later challenged the students, “How are you going to turn your good intentions into real changes? The ‘how’ question will be the most important question of the 21st century.”

Encouraging students to research and propose solutions to the global water crisis is one way organizations like Water.org connect seemingly unrelated trends and apply them to its core mission of universal access to safe water and sanitation. Just over five years ago, Water.org identified the growth of micro-lending and its potential for those without water. Today over 315,000 people have basic services through the organization’s WaterCredit program, which engages those lacking water and sanitation to seek their own solutions.

“It’s pretty clear that philanthropy alone will never be able to reach the nearly one billion people without clean water,” said co-founder Matt Damon. “Solutions that leverage resources from the ground up are absolutely critical and the Hult Global Case Challenge is a great platform to capture the energy and enthusiasm of business school students to create lasting solutions.”

Currently more people in the world have access to a cell phone than to a toilet. The winning concept would leverage the rapid adoption of mobile phones in emerging markets. Through a loyalty program designed in conjunction with mobile providers and operators, individuals would allocate a percentage of their top-off cards to raise capital required for water improvements in their communities.

“The Cambridge team’s model is very compelling because it puts beneficiaries in control of their own water destiny. Simply by using the strength of their own purchasing power with mobile providers, more communities could get safe water solutions more quickly,” said Gary White, co-founder of Water.org. “The experience of this competition and partnership with the Hult International Business School has been remarkable. We’re eager to explore the winning idea as well as many elements of other submissions to drive the real system change needed to reach everyone with safe water in our lifetime.”

Both Hult International Business School and Water.org are members of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI). In 2010, when Hult sought a nonprofit partner for the Global Case Challenge, CGI introduced it to Water.org. Hult International Business School will make the winning idea, along with a $1M donation, available to Water.org to accelerate access to clean water and sanitation. The Global Case Challenge is a CGI Commitment to Action.

ABOUT WATER.ORG

Water.org is a non-profit organization that has transformed thousands of communities in Africa, South Asia, and Central America by providing access to safe water and sanitation over the past twenty-one years. Founded by Matt Damon and Gary White, Water.org works with local partners to deliver innovative solutions for long-term success. Learn more and make a difference at http://Water.org.

About the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI)

Established in 2005 by President Bill Clinton, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) convenes global leaders to devise and implement innovative solutions to some of the world’s most pressing challenges. Since 2005, CGI Annual Meetings have brought together nearly 150 current and former heads of state, 18 Nobel Prize laureates, hundreds of leading CEOs, heads of foundations, major philanthropists, directors of the most effective nongovernmental organizations, and prominent members of the media. These CGI members have made nearly 2,000 commitments, which have already improved the lives of 300 million people in more than 180 countries. When fully funded and implemented, these commitments will be valued in excess of $63 billion. The 2011 Annual Meeting will take place Sept. 19-22 in New York City.

This year, CGI will also convene a meeting focused on developing ideas for driving economic growth in the United States. The meeting, CGI America, will be the first CGI event solely dedicated to U.S. issues and will take place in Chicago June 29-30. The CGI community also includes CGI U, which hosts an annual meeting for undergraduate and graduate students, and CGI Lead, which engages a select group of young CGI members for leadership development and collective commitment-making. For more information, visit www.clintonglobalinitiative.org.

ABOUT HULT INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS SCHOOL

The Hult International Business School is committed to tacking the world’s toughest social challenges through crowd-sourcing, innovative ideas and solutions from the world’s best and brightest business school students.

Hult International Business School (formerly known as the Arthur D. Little School of Management) is the first global business school with campuses in Boston, San Francisco, London, Dubai, and Shanghai. The School offers a range of business-focused programs including MBA, Master and Undergraduate degrees. Hult’s one-year MBA program is ranked in the top 30 in the world by The Economist and among the top 100 by the Financial Times. www.hult.edu.

CONTACT: Ali Boneval for Water.org, ab@thebeltwaymediagroup.com 202.262.0474 or media@water.org 816.877.8420

Water.org provides innovative, market-based solutions that change lives every day through safe water and sanitation.

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