Paying too much for water
Through decades of research, traveling throughout the world, and talking to those affected by the water crisis, Co-founder and CEO Gary White uncovered a surprisingly common theme – there are millions of families spending more than 20% of their income on water. They are caught in a cycle of poverty, unable to afford permanent access to water in their homes and beholden to water merchants who charged exorbitant fees.
On a visit to India in 2003, Gary met a woman who was paying a loan shark 125% interest to buy a toilet. She was living on $2 USD a day and absorbing a crushing debt. This was the inspiration for WaterCredit.
WaterCredit: A smart solution to a complex problem
The truth is that many of these families can get a water or sanitation solution in their home for a fraction of their annual water costs. All they need is access to affordable financing to make this a reality. We believe that if we can provide people with small, affordable loans for water connections and toilets, we can empower people to participate in the solution.
Many financial institutions in developing countries weren’t offering loans for water and sanitation to people in need. We brought resources and consulting expertise to these organizations, equipping them with what is needed to successfully add water and sanitation loans to their portfolios of offerings. Through WaterCredit, we are making water and sanitation loans accessible to those who need them the most. And the results are astounding.
A proven, powerful solution
After more than 15 years in action, WaterCredit is a proven, powerful solution. More than 21 million people who now have access to safe water and sanitation.
Together with our 125 partners around the world, we've catalyzed more than $1.8 billion in capital to support small loans that bring access to safe water and sanitation to millions of people in need. Every $1 we put into WaterCredit creates $59 worth of impact.
Our solution is in high demand, sustainable, and reaching people in need. More than 87% of borrowers are women – those most impacted by the water crisis – and the majority of households borrowing the loans – live on less than $3.10 a day. When given an opportunity to pay for water and sanitation improvements with loans, families opt to finance long-term solutions versus struggle day-to-day to secure water.
Loan repayment rates are above 99%, and every repaid loan can empower another family with safe water.
WaterCredit is scaling and the impact is accelerating. A few years ago we were able to reach one million people in a year. Now we reach this many people in a matter of months.
A long-term solution for families in need
It’s smart, simple and sustainable. More importantly, it helps the people we empower solve their immediate need, and continues to enrich their lives long after the original loan has been repaid. This solution works because it recognizes people as consumers with autonomy and empowers people to define their own futures. Through WaterCredit, women who previously spent hours each day collecting safe water, have time to pursue education, work and keep their families safer and healthier. That’s the power of water.
How it works
WaterCredit is a powerful solution and the first to put microfinance tools to work in the water and sanitation sector. WaterCredit helps bring small loans to those who need access to affordable financing and expert resources to make household water and toilet solutions a reality. 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 identify a region where people need access to water and sanitation and that is ready for a microfinance solution.
- We partner with carefully selected institutions that provide affordable financing for water and sanitation to families in need.
- These microfinance partners establish water and sanitation loans in their portfolio of offerings. We support them by providing resources, education, connections with other practitioners and technical assistance to get them started.
- People in need use these small, affordable loans to put a tap or toilet in their homes and access local resources to do the work.
- Every repaid loan can be lent to another family in need of safe water or sanitation.
Multiplying opportunities to impact more people, faster
What if we told you every dollar we put into WaterCredit creates $59 worth of impact? The truth is, WaterCredit is a catalyst. With support from Water.org, our 125 partners are able to attract capital, giving out more loans to bring access to safe water and sanitation to millions.
We work with our partners to make WaterCredit self-sustaining, helping set-up a system that lasts long after our involvement ends. Every repaid loan can empower another family with safe water. It’s a cycle that continues to reach more people, creating new opportunities for families around the world.
To help us reach more people through WaterCredit, give today.Donate