Get involved to ease this worldwide crisis.
For that reason, a number of charitable organizations, as well as broader-based aid groups, are dedicating themselves to improving the situation. Below are a few of the most effective charities focused on alleviating chronic clean-water shortages, as determined by consensus among independent ratings organizations including GuideStar, Charity Navigator and the Better Business Bureau.
Water.org: Don’t be fooled by Water.org’s celebrity patina. (Matt Damon is a co-founder). This charity means business. The organization uses philanthropy to jump-start a market among microfinance organizations so they get into the business of making water and sanitation loans. Water.org has invested $8.6 million in 41 microfinance organizations to date; they, in turn, have extended 253,227 loans totaling $47 million for water access and sanitation. So far, 1.2 million people have benefited, 93 percent of the loans have gone to women and the repayment rate is 99 percent.
WaterAid: WaterAid’s ambition is to provide access to safe water, improve hygiene and sanitation for 25 million people around the world by 2015 and reach an additional 100 million people by influencing the policies and practices of governments and service providers. The organization aims to promote and secure poor people’s rights and access to safe water. It also plans to support governments and service providers in developing their capacity to deliver safe water and to advocate for the essential role of safe water, improved hygiene and sanitation in human development.
Charity: Water: Having reportedly raised $93 million in its short history to finance waterprojects in the developing world, Charity: Water is the largest water-focused nonprofit in the United States. That prominence has made it something of a lightning rod for critics, but the truth is that 100 percent of public donations are used to fund clean-water projects. (Overhead costs are covered by foundations, sponsors and donors who choose to help with operational funding.) The organization champions simple, innovative solutions, such as freshwater wells and filters that use sand and microorganisms to remove contaminants.
Water for People: Water for People’s mission is “Everyone, Forever,” meaning that they are working to build permanent solutions on a global scale. To do so, the organization collaborates with IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre and Water & Sanitation for the Urban Poor (WSUP) to target districts in defined geographic regions. Success is defined as every household, every school and every public health facility/clinic in those regions having access to improved water and sanitation services. The strategy is that target communities eventually will never again need support from an international water agency. Water for People’s focus is on the long term: Development agencies monitor field results for at least 10 years, but the monitoring capacity and responsibility are firmly embedded within communities and government.
Other organizations: Lack of clean water is a global crisis that affects every aspect of life. It’s worth noting that a number of broad-based charitable organizations are at the forefront of water access efforts even if they don’t have “water” in their names.
- Catholic Relief Services
- The Program for Appropriate Technology in Health
- International Development Enterprises
- Plan International
- Save the Children
- World Vision International
- Practical Action