16 September 2009

Water for People $1M Challenge

The organization Water for People has recently announced their second, seemingly annual Rosenthal Million Dollar Challenge Grant. Between 15 September and 15 November 2009, if WFP raises $500,000 through donations from people like you and me, Stephen and Sandy Rosenthal of New Orleans will match it for a total of $1M in new funding for WFP. They did this last year and succeeded greatly, so WFP is eager to see it happen again. In addition to ongoing efforts at proving clean water and sanitation facilities in many countries of Central and South America and Africa, WFP has recently expanded its efforts into more of sub-Saharan Africa, Central America and India. This past May it was announced that Malawi, a long-time WFP beneficiary, will also receive an additional $47M from the African Development Bank (AfDB) for water and sanitation projects over the next five years. Not only do WFP personnel go out there and do the building and plumbing themselves, but the group also contributes to the activity and employment of local small businesses who do the same.

One of the best project targets for WFP is providing new toilets and latrines in schools, where girls can then use the facilities in privacy. It helps keep girls in school, and contributes to the health of the community, and for those reasons is one of the focus activities of the Water Advocates' Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Initiative and activities funded by the newer organization Water.org. The WASH-in-Schools Initiative has become so successful that the Millennium Water Alliance, the Global Water Challenge, and the Water & Sanitation Rotarian Action Group have provided funding for as many as 20 U.S. embassies in other countries to implement Ambassador's WASH-in-Schools (AWASH) Initiatives in their areas. The Global Water Challenge also supports a School Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Plus Community Impact (SWASH+) program to reach more than 1,500 schools over five years in Kenya, in partnership with several other organizations including the Coca-Cola Company and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, who also just announced a grant of more than $700,000 to WaterAid America. Sometime I'll try to draw a map of all the organizations and contributions in water and sanitation, though it would probably become obsolete immediately, but you can tell that the connections are becoming more and more dense by the week between charitable organizations and the countries where their efforts are most in need, especially as we draw closer to the Millennium Development Goals for these sectors.

Go and do! Pledge your support! A direct link to the WFP matched donations campaign page is here.