Giving Compass’ Take:
• Jon Pattee explains that funding for clean water initiatives has become challenging for philanthropists. Funders are working to reframe the questions around clean water access to increase the impact of donations.
• What are some ways you can fund clean water initiatives that will be sustainable and effective?
The WHO estimates that 2.1 billion people lack access to safe, readily available water at home. This problem, in turn, drives many others—like the deaths every year of hundreds of thousands of children under 5 from diarrheal diseases caused by unsafe water and sanitation.
Private philanthropy has a long history of working on this issue, and despite frustrations and setbacks, donors remain on the case.
Are there are new funders on the scene? Are grantmakers getting smarter and having more success? And how does WASH fit into the broader landscape of global health and development funding?
David Douglas, a principal at Global Water 2020 says, “A major challenge is to get more funders “supporting not infrastructure projects per se, but other, no less critical, areas of WASH funding.” He cited, as examples, investments that lead to in-country grants to indigenous advocacy groups to strengthen deeper political will in a developing country, or support aimed more at long-term sustainability of water projects, many of which fail over time.
John Oldfield, another principal at Global Water 2020 said he’s seen a shift in how grantmakers in this space think. They are moving away from questions like, “How many wells can we buy for $100,000?” and toward “What sort of lasting impact can we have for $100,000?”
Oldfield said helping hard-to-reach populations will require a more concerted effort, smarter grantmaking, closer relationships with local governments, and likely an extended timeline and more financial and technical support in the short to medium term.
Read the full article about funding clean water by Jon Pattee at Southern California Grantmakers.
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