The Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment has announced a four-year, $1.9 million grant from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation to accelerate efforts to provide access to safe, reliable, and affordable water services.
Awarded as part of Hilton's Safe Water Strategy, which is aligned with UN Sustainable Development Goal 6 (ensure the availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all), the grant will renew a partnership in support of the institute's Program on Water, Health, and Development. According to the institute, the annual funding gap for water services in low- and middle-income countries is more than $50 billion. To address that gap, the foundation is focusing on opportunities that can catalyze new investment or get more value out of existing investments.
The Safe Water Strategy initiative works with local governments and private sector and civil society groups in Burkina Faso, Ghana, Mali, Niger, Ethiopia, and Uganda to develop plans for expanding water services to all residents within a target district. Although the foundation previously worked to train community volunteers how to operate and maintain water points, it has shifted its support to building monetized, professionalized water systems. To that end, the foundation is incentivizing its partners to collaborate more effectively with one another and government in developing, testing, and implementing different approaches for strengthening water delivery systems and service at the district level.
"We are grateful to have the Stanford Woods Institute as a thought partner," said Chris Dunston, the foundation's senior program officer for international programs. "We are confident this partnership will not only help guide the foundation's investments and research priorities, but create a learning environment for our partners and the sector at large that is intentional, strategic, and aligned toward impact."