East Africa WaterCredit Forum

Water.org and The MasterCard Foundation convene the East African WaterCredit Forum to accelerate access to microloans designed to reach over 180,000 with safe water and sanitation in Kenya and Uganda by 2015.

Press Release

Water.org and The MasterCard Foundation Convene the East African WaterCredit Forum to Accelerate Access to Safe Water and Sanitation

WaterCredit to reach over 180,000 with safe water and sanitation in Kenya and Uganda by 2015

NAIROBI, KENYA – WEDNESDAY, 14TH NOVEMBER 2012 – Water.org in partnership with the MasterCard Foundation has launched a three year partnership to bring safe water and sanitation to economically challenged communities in East Africa through an innovative approach called WaterCredit. Through WaterCredit, individuals or households can obtain financing from select Microfinance Institutions (MFIs) for long‐term, sustainable water and sanitation solutions.

Today, Water.org and The MasterCard Foundation convened the first East African WaterCredit Forum to share on‐the‐ground experiences from its WaterCredit portfolio and host a conversation among a variety of stakeholders to exchange ideas for accelerating progress.

According to Mr. Gary White, CEO and co‐founder of Water.org, “The water and sanitation problem in the developing world is far too big for charity alone. We are pursuing new solutions, new financing models, greater transparency, and real partnerships that help unleash the power of those lacking water and sanitation as customers rather than recipients of charity.”

Water.org, in partnership with The MasterCard Foundation, is currently working with four microfinance institutions throughout Kenya to expand the WaterCredit model including Equity Bank, SMEP DTM, KWFT DTM, and ECLOF Kenya. Together, these MFIs and Banks are expected to catalyze more than KES 1 billion ($12 million) in loan capital towards WaterCredit loans over the course of the Initiative. To date, more than 9,300 individuals in Kenya have benefited from micro‐funding for improving water and sanitation needs with an impressive repayment rate of 99.5% in Kenya. Globally, more than 510, 000 people have benefited from WaterCredit through Water.org’s programs, with an overall repayment rate of 97%.

According to MajiData, 16 million Kenyans in at least 70% of households do not have a water connection and 27 million in 90% of households in Kenya do not have access to improved sanitation. Furthermore, only 29% of schools in Kenya have adequate water and sanitation facilities. The result is high mortality resulting from water and sanitation related diseases – approximately 10% of all deaths in Kenya are related to inadequate water and sanitation access.

For Kenya and other countries, attempts to provide such large numbers of households and millions of users with the requisite water and sanitation facilities is an uphill task and calls for innovative ways of increasing access to meet and surpass the Millennium Development Targets on water and sanitation.

According to Gary, “We recognized early on that most families, even though they are “poor” by traditional economic definitions, are still spending a significant portion of their income to meet their daily water and sanitation needs. Access to larger sums of financing could help them break the vicious cycle of poverty, and put in place permanent and sustainable solutions. By providing families with micro‐sized loans to purchase their own water connection or toilet, we empower families to take charge of their own futures. And, as loans are repaid, they can be loaned out again to the next family in need. WaterCredit enables us to reach families four to five times faster than a more traditional approach.

“Water.org’s client‐centred and community‐based approach makes it a perfect partner for The MasterCard Foundation. This program will enable microfinance providers to innovate and offer both savings and credit products to help the poor access clean water and sanitation’’, said Reeta Roy, President and CEO, The MasterCard Foundation.

About Water.org

For more than two decades, Water.org has been at the forefront of developing and delivering solutions to the water crisis. Founded by Gary White and Matt Damon, Water.org pioneers innovative, community‐driven and market‐based solutions to ensure all people have access to safe water and sanitation; giving women hope, children health and communities a future. To date, Water.org has positively transformed the lives of more than 1,000,000 individuals living across communities in Africa, South Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean; ensuring a better life for generations ahead.

About The MasterCard Foundation

The MasterCard Foundation advances microfinance and youth learning to promote financial inclusion and prosperity. Through collaboration with committed partners in 49 developing countries, it is helping people living in poverty to access opportunities to learn and prosper. Based in Toronto, Canada, the Foundation was established through the generosity of MasterCard Worldwide at the time of the company’s initial public offering in 2006. It operates independently of MasterCard Worldwide. For more information, visit http://mastercardfdn.org