What is the origin of this innovation? Tell us your story.
WaterPartners has always been an innovator, conceiving new ways to tackle the global water crisis that have greater impact and are more efficient than traditional approaches. It is in this spirit that we launched WaterCredit. WaterCredit was a natural next step for WaterPartners, an organization with over 18 years experience in the water and sanitation field. This initiative has allowed WaterPartners to use its expertise to bridge best practices from the water and sanitation, and micro-finance sectors to help leverage scarce resources. When you consider that more than five million people die every year from water-related disease, the sense of urgency grows.
Since 2003, WaterPartners has piloted a number of WaterCredit projects. To date, WaterPartners has delivered strategic capital to conduct market research and build the capacity of its network of local partner organizations for pilot projects in India, Kenya, and Bangladesh and has overseen $500,000 in loans, serving over 65,000 people. Through these projects, WaterPartners has tested a number of different models in different environments and has begun to develop an important body of knowledge about how to best implement credit-based work for water and sanitation.
WaterCredit has captured the imagination of many people and organizations. Through its work to date, WaterPartners has developed a unique blend of insight, expertise, and entrepreneurial spirit needed to scale this initiative and bring MFIs and other key organizations into this space. While many unknowns lie ahead, WaterPartners is committed to expanding WaterCredit models and discovering the strengths and weaknesses of each.
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Gary White is co-founder and executive director of WaterPartners, an NGO that helps people in the developing world gain access to safe water and sanitation. White developed the WaterCredit concept as a key innovation for WaterPartners. White holds an M.S. in Environmental Engineering, emphasizing water supply and sanitation in developing countries, from UNC-Chapel Hill, and an M.S. and a B.S. in Civil Engineering from the University of Missouri-Rolla. White is a founding board member of the Millennium Water Alliance and Water Advocates.