Small loans, big impact: WaterCredit
One of the major barriers to safe water and sanitation is affordable financing. WaterCredit is the first program to put microfinance tools to work in the water, sanitation and hygiene sector.
It is a pay-it-forward system that makes it possible to help more people in ways that will last.
Here’s how it works:
- We find a region that is ready for a microfinance solution—enough need to sustain the change, a financial infrastructure, a demand for micro-loans, and the ability to make a big impact.
- We partner with carefully selected microfinance institutions who provide loans to a person or family in need for water connections or toilets.
- We support our partners in getting the microfinance program off the ground—providing resources, go-to-market support, education, outreach, and “smart subsidy” to get them started.
- The loans through WaterCredit are affordable, making them easy to repay. Once the loan is repaid, it can go to the next person who needs it—starting a cycle of new opportunity for entire communities.
- Access to safe water and sanitation helps turn a life of poverty into a life of possibility.
WaterCredit is working
It’s transforming lives. It’s gaining momentum. As of early 2017, WaterCredit has empowered more than six million people across ten countries with access to safe water and sanitation. Once a high risk experiment, WaterCredit is now changing the face of the water crisis.
- 1.4 M loans disbursed
- 99% repayment rate
- $260 average loan size
- 92% of borrowers are women
Meet Vimala and Grace
Meet Vimala and Grace, two of the six million people reached by WaterCredit.
Before, Vimala and her family spent three hours each day carrying water from a communal source. Now, thanks to a loan, the family has easy access to safe water at home, creating more time and energy for a bright future. Learn more about Vimala's story here.
For Grace and her family in Kenya, a loan helped them install a rainwater catchment system and water tank. Grace envisioned the day when her young daughter would no longer have to walk to collect water. Now, with every rainy day, her hope turns into a beautiful reality. Watch Grace tell her story here.
The Inspiration for WaterCredit
On a visit to India in 2003, Gary White, CEO & co-founder, met a woman who was paying a loan shark 125 percent interest to buy a toilet. She was living on two dollars a day and absorbing a crushing debt for sanitation. Gary realized that this woman – and many people like her – were paying outrageous rates, up to 20 percent of their income, to address their water and sanitation needs. This was the inspiration for WaterCredit.
If the poor were paying such outrageous rates for water and sanitation, they’d certainly be willing to pay a lot less. Not just willing but, with some help, able. Gary believed that if we could provide people with small loans at reasonable rates for water connections and toilets, we would create customers and participants in solving the water crisis. This is the foundation of WaterCredit.
Water, Sanitation and Microfinance Toolkits developed by Water.org and MicroSave
WASH Microfinance: Market Assessments, Case Studies, White Papers
Information for Financial Institutions:
- WaterCredit Program Overview for FI's
- WaterCredit Adoption for Practitioners
- WaterCredit Adoption Expression of Interest Form
- Sample WaterCredit Loan Products
- WaterCredit Partner Profile - Grameen Koota
- WaterCredit Partner Profile - Hand in Hand
- WaterCredit Partner Profile - ECLOF Kenya
Global Learning Notes