Unlocking potential

A lack of access to safe water and sanitation locks women in a cycle of poverty, but this is changing.

For decades, the water and sanitation sector has approached water and sanitation access for the poor through raising money and disbursing it in the form of subsidies to cover the cost of wells and toilets. This charity-led approach is not sustainable or scalable at a level needed to confront the global water crisis.

weavers [Nairobi, Kenya - Ester rents rooms to a number of families in Kigiru Village. She has taken WaterCredit loans to get two large water tanks allowing her tenant families access to safe water as part of their rent.]

For a large segment of the poor, charity dollars are not necessarily needed as much as access to finance. Water.org has found that women around the world have great potential to take hold of their family’s water and sanitation needs; when they get back the time once spent collecting water or looking for a safe place to go, they can attend school, work to earn incomes and ultimately fund their own solutions.

[Tangerang, Indonesia - Neni took out a WaterCredit loan to install a toilet in her home. This has given her time to run her snack shop of which generates an income to repay her loan and provide for her family.]

Water.org is seeing great success in challenging the traditional charity model by empowering the poor to define their own futures. Through WaterCredit, the poor can finance the construction of their own solutions like a water tap or toilet. To date Water.org has served more than 3.3 million people through this approach. And of those served, more than 90% of the loans were borrowed by women who repaid them at a repayment rate of 99%.

tabitha [Nairobi, Kenya - Tabitha used to pay her neighbors $35-$70/mo to use their well, so she took out a WaterCredit loan that cost $40/mo to buy her own rainwater catchment system. She paid off the loan in one year, and now she puts her extra money towards her salon in Rongai.]

To learn more about how Water.org is unlocking the potential of women, families and communities around the world go here.

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