Over two billion people lack access to safe water and more than twice that number of people do not have access to adequate sanitation. According to one of our grantees, Water for People, water-related diseases cause over 800,000 deaths a year, especially among women and children. Without proper water and sanitation services, women and children around the globe spend precious hours each day sourcing water for their families—often risking their safety. Also, without safe water, people have an increased risk of disease and malnutrition, school attendance—particularly for girls—is lowered, and people’s dignity and self-worth are adversely impacted. Empowering safe, reliable, and affordable water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services for all people involves navigating complex systems and partners from all sectors.
Our Partners in Action: Safe Water Network
The Safe Water Network uses market-based approaches to deliver safe, affordable drinking water to communities in need. Since 2008, it has worked in more than 350 communities in Ghana and India, providing training, tools, and support to local entrepreneurs to help them establish small water enterprises (SWEs), which are owned and operated locally. Community members pay small fees to purchase water, and the revenue covers operating and maintenance costs for the SWE, ensuring it can continue serving the community in an ongoing, sustainable way. Through 83 water stations in Ghana and 228 in India, Safe Water Network connects more than one million people to safe water every day.
In 2015, the Osprey Foundation provided a $100,000 loan to the organization to fund the construction and early operations of a water station in Ghana. This loan would allow the organization to test its ability to repay a loan, so that it could mitigate the risk for future investors. Additionally, through general operating funds and hands-on guidance, the foundation recently supported the organization’s efforts to track data from each water station, share these learnings with the sector, and demonstrate the scalability of its model. Safe Water Network uses foundation funds to increase its visibility and influence in the field by building stronger partnerships, convening diverse stakeholders, and advancing collaborative initiatives to grow its impact on a global scale.