Friday, December 18, 2009 is hiring - DC and Kansas City

It seems like this blog is turning into a job-posting site, but I imagine that's a proxy indicator for a growing water and sanitation sector so no complaints.

Two more from (Gary White and Matt Damon's shop):

Program Manager. We are looking for an experienced and highly skilled Program Manager to work with our International Programs team and manage our Haiti program, among other duties. Master’s or Ph.D preferred, as well as knowledge of French, at least two years of relevant work experience in Haiti, and at least five years of relevant experience with development, water and sanitation, microfinance, and/or nonprofit organizations. This full-time position will be based in Kansas City, MO, with significant travel to Haiti and Central America. Open until filled. Read the full job announcement.

Partnership Manager. We are also looking for a highly-qualified Washington, D.C.-based Partnership Manager that will be responsible for the overall development, implementation, and promotion of relationships with U.S. government and other large-scale institutional donors, among other duties. Master’s level degree highly desirable, with at least 5-10 years in public or private nonprofit environment, including proposal development and writing for significant international projects as well as private and public grants. Relationships with U.S. government and other bi/multi-lateral institutional donors active in international development essential, and 1-2 years overseas experience in a developing country desirable. This position is full-time and will work with our International Programs team. Open until filled. Read the full job announcement.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Imagine H2O is hiring...

Very interesting job opening at Imagine H2O in the Bay Area:

Imagine H20 is a non-profit seeking to accelerate adoption of new water technology in the marketplace. The organization does this by:

  • Education
  • Awareness
  • Building a stakeholder community
  • Sponsoring various prize competitions
Imagine H2O’s first prize involves Water Efficiency and the contest is underway now. Funding is currently coming from The Royal Bank of Canada for the first three years.

Imagine H20 is looking for a COO who is:

  • entrepreneurial but operational – ideally, someone who has worked at a startup
  • a good communicator (has to be the public face of the organization)
  • can inspire volunteers and can command respect at the Fortune 500 level (existing sponsors are major companies) and who can manage a staff of volunteers
  • able to fundraise (and who likes doing it/has done it) via non-profit experience, sponsorships, or even angel and VC funding experiences)
  • passionate about the struggle to provide clean water to people (needs to convey the mission passionately to all stake holders all the time)
  • able to work in San Francisco
Please send me a note for the complete description if you want, or reach out directly to:

Daniel McGrath
danielm {{at}}

Friday, November 20, 2009

Happy Universal Children's Day!

On Universal Children's Day - November 20 - the Global Water Challenge's Tanvi Nagpal has released an exposé on water, children, and health:

Clean Start: Focusing on School Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene: A Reflection From GWC

My summary: water, sanitation and hygiene in schools is one of the world's most pressing global public health challenges, and likely its most solvable. Get involved.

Key points from Tanvi's summary:

THE ISSUE: Half the schools in the world that open their doors every day have no clean water or latrines.

THE IMPACT ON CHILDREN'S HEALTH: When there is no water in the school, children cannot wash their hands and disease travels rapidly through crowded classrooms. One-third of children worldwide get intestinal parasites form dirty water and unclean hands.

THE IMPACT ON CHILDREN'S WELL-BEING: Clean water and sanitation are as essential to learning as good books and solid teachers. Without these necessities, children have trouble paying attention in school, and many fall ill and have to miss class. In the long term, educational achievement is one of the most important determinants of health, life expectancy, economic productivity, and the wellbeing of future generations.

THE SOLUTIONS: If the schools lacks access to water, rainwater harvesting and shallow wells can be good, low-cost options. If the school has access to dirty water, then water filters and chlorine tablets are often best. Basic hygiene education (particularly about handwashing) and soap helps reduce the spread of disease.

WHAT YOU CAN DO: Spread the word to your friends using GWC's tools.

You're on it.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Nominate a Water Person of the Year! (By next Monday)

From our friends at OneWorld:

Nominate YOUR People of the Year

Nominations for OneWorld's People of 2009 Awards are closing Monday, Nov. 23. Our annual award honors those making a difference in people's lives anywhere and everywhere on the planet. Finalists get exposure through OneWorld's global publications and networks. Our readers get a serious dose of inspiration. You can nominate someone you know, or someone you just know about. It can be a person, a group of people, an organization, a corporation... you get the point. Who should OneWorld's readers hear about this year? We need to hear from you!

Past nominees have included the heralded and the unheralded -- from social entrepreneur Martin Fisher and AIDS caregiver Pamela Adoyo to the mayor of a town in Portugal and the women of Zimbabwe.

It only takes two minutes. Click here to post your nomination on our blog, and tell us where we can learn more about your nominee. Here's that direct link:

Jeffrey Allen
Managing Editor,, United States

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

OU International Water Prize Winner: Steve Luby

I don't go in for the 'hero worship' one bit, but if I did Steve Luby would be a good candidate: he has dedicated his career - at least a great portion of it - to preventing and treating waterborne diarrheal disease. Recognition is long past due, and rah rah for the University of Oklahoma and its Selection Committee for awarding Steve Luby the International Water Prize. Please join them in October (27th - 29th) for the International WaTER Conference and choice prize ceremony if you have the means.

Oklahoma University International Water Prize

Purpose: The purpose of the OU International Water Prize is to recognize and honor an individual who has made significant international contributions, either through research or teaching or service activities, in the field of water supply and sanitation, with a focus on the world's poorest living in small villages/communities in rural or remote regions.

Details: The Prize is a biennial award sponsored by the WaTER Center at the University of Oklahoma and made possible by generous gifts from alumni and friends. The inaugural prize winner will be selected in 2008 and awarded at the 2009 OU WaTER Conference to be held in late October 2009. The winner will receive a $25,000 cash reward with half of the reward going directly to the recipient and half going to the WaTER-related non-profit organization of his/her choice. The winner will also receive replica of the WaTER symbol cast in silver and a bronze plaque. This is one of the first and largest prizes dedicated to the field of water supply and sanitation in remote areas of emerging regions.

Dr. Stephen P. Luby - 2009 OU International Water Prize Winner

Dr. Luby has worked for the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh since 2004. He is head of the Program on Infectious Diseases and Vaccine Sciences and also functions as the head of Agency for the Centers for Disease Control in Bangladesh. He earned a bachelor of arts in philosophy from Creighton University in 1981 and a medical degree from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School at Dallas in 1986. He completed his internship and residency in internal medicine at the University of Rochester-Strong Memorial Hospital. Dr. Luby studied epidemiology and public health in the Epidemic Intelligence Service and the Preventive Medicine Residency of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Dr. Luby has authored over 120 scientific articles, the majority concerning communicable disease epidemiology in low-income countries.

Jurors for the 2009 Prize included:

Greg Allgood, Director of Procter & Gamble Pur Program
Michael Campana, Director of the Institute for Water and Watersheds, Oregon State University
Henock Gezahegn, PSI-Ethiopia
Daniele Lantagne, Centers for Disease Control, Atlanta, GA
Malcolm Morris, Chairman of Stewart Title Company in Houston, TX and co-founder of Living Water International and the Millennium Water Alliance

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

ONE Rallies for Clean Water at the Field Museum in Chicago

See report below from Matthew Bartlett at the ONE Campaign:

[Don't forget to go to the ONE website and ask your Senator to cosponsor the Senator Paul Simon Water for the World Act of 2009: ]

This Monday in Chicago, ONE held a rally at The Field Museum’s Water Exhibit to celebrate the Paul Simon Water for the World Act. The event featured US Senator Richard Durbin, an original cosponsor of the Water for the World Act, and we were joined by many ONE members, local guests and partner organizations.

Before the event started, I caught up with Shayne Moore, a ONE member since inception. Shayne and I talked about the power of “Moms” in the world and the important role that women play both in ONE and in global development. Shayne even told me some of her work with partner groups and how as a mother of three, she felt strongly about supporting the life saving work of the Global Fund.

Sheila Nix, ONE’s executive director, opened up the event by talking about the lack of clean water in many parts of the developing world and just how crucial clean water is to global health issues. She went on to highlight the importance of the Water for the World Act and the potential it has to help usher in clean water to millions of lives around the world. Sheila also highlighted the prominent role that many of ONE’s partner groups play both on the ground in Africa, and in advocacy here in the US. Before she introduced Senator Durbin, she highlighted his efforts on the Water for the World Act, and his greater role in many other essential programs and for being one of the earliest and strongest backers of the Global Fund.

Senator Durbin then spoke about how ONE’s petition around Water for All put a growing bi-partisan force behind the legislation, saying that when it was first introduced, only a few other senators had signed on, but after ONE members across the country weighed in, alongside many other individuals and organizations, the list of co-sponsors is growing and Senator Durbin even noted Senator Isakson’s support from across the political aisle. Senator Durbin even singled out Water Advocates and noted Matt Damon’s special taped message to ONE members.

After the event, we took a quick tour of the water exhibit and after a few ONE members and guests were able to speak with Senator Durbin and thank him for his participation in the event, and for his actions in the Congress to help bring clean water to the world’s poorest people. I even had the chance to thank him for the chance meeting back in New Hampshire when I spotted him in a ONE shirt.

No matter where you live, clean water is one of the most crucial tenants to a healthy life. And no matter where you live in the US, your voice can help bring clean water to millions around the world when you take action with ONE.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Water and Sanitation Program / Handwashing Help

From a friend at the Water and Sanitation Program in Washington DC:

I am currently working on WSP's scaling up of hand-washing-with-soap project. As part of this effort, we are compiling a list of "enabling technologies" that facilitate handwashing-with-soap.

Of course, tippy taps are the most common and well known but other technologies like soap dishes, soap nets, handwashing stations, cue cards, etc. also fit into this broad category of "enabling technologies." We suspect a large part of this research effort will involve documenting a wide range of tippy tap options. BUT we do not want to get stuck on tippy taps, and we hope to discover outside-the-box ideas and devices that people have seen in the field.

Do you have any experiences or have you seen anything that fits into this effort? If you have a photo, description, write-up, anything, that will be extremely helpful.Also, if you know of other folks that have experiences to share, please pass along my inquiry.

If you are aware of ideas, handwashing approaches/technologies that they need to be aware of, please reach out directly to Ian Moise at the Water and Sanitation Program:

Ian Moise
WSP - Scaling Up Programs
Hand Washing and Sanitation

imoise (at)

USAID Hiring Water and Sanitation / Diarrhea Expert

I have received this note through various channels from USAID in Washington DC – a very interesting senior watsan position at USAID on its Environmental Health Team. Note the focus on ‘diarrheal disease and associated mortality’.

Public Health Advisor – Environmental Health
U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)

The USAID Bureau for Global Health, Maternal and Child Health Division (MCH), based at USAID headquarters in Washington DC, is seeking a Public Health Advisor to provide leadership in its environmental health activities. The major activities of the MCH environmental health team are focused on reduction of diarrheal disease and associated mortality for vulnerable populations in developing countries, especially children under 5, through improvements in drinking water quality and availability, sanitation, and hygiene. Other areas of activity vary over time, but may include improvement in indoor air quality, reduction of health vulnerabilities from climate change, and other topics related to health impacts from environmental degradation.

The successful candidate will participate in and provide leadership to the development of USAID environmental health strategies, plans, program guidance, and dissemination of results. S/he will provide specialized expertise to USAID Missions and host-country governments on new developments and the most effective approaches to environmental health problems in a region or country. S/he will be responsible for communicating such strategies and program results to diverse audiences within and outside USAID, including the U.S. Congress, external partners, and senior USAID and U.S. government staff.

This is a senior position requiring effective program management and communications skills. For further details on qualifications and to apply for this position, please see

Note that U.S. citizenship is required. Application deadline is 9/9/2009.

Monday, August 31, 2009

ITT and Water For People at World Water Week in Stockholm

ITT has been a longtime supporter of the World Water Week in Stockholm. ITT's Bjorn Von Euler has done a lot of writing this summer and you might want to skim his Final Thoughts from Stockholm World Water Week 2009.

To reiterate one point that Water For People’s Ned Breslin made at Stockholm: “Please hold poor people accountable.”

Donors, implementing nonprofits, and local communities *all* need to be held accountable for the sustainability of their water and sanitation programming, each as much as the other. Often the best way to ensure decentralized ownership and thereby local sustainability is by making sure that the local communities have a financial stake in the program. This often comes as an upfront cash investment in the capital costs of the work (e.g. the community itself pays for 5-25% of the cost of the borewell) and most if not all of the ongoing operating costs. This contribution will be managed by a village water committee or its equivalent in an urban or peri-urban environment. That committee will also be charged with ensuring that the benefits of the program are distributed equitably, including to those families and individuals who are too poor to pay anything at all.

ITT, Water For People, and many other groups (for profit and/or nonprofit - this distinction is often lost on me) are doing what they can to “work themselves out of a job” - the true goal of global development work. Accountability and sustainability (including financial sustainability) are two facets of development which need to pervade the safe drinking water sector.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Guy Laliberté's Poetic Social Mission in Space | One Drop Foundation

Holy cow. Mon dieu je veux dire.

About Guy Laliberté's Poetic Social Mission in Space One Drop Foundation

In September 2009, Guy Laliberté will undertake a groundbreaking, ground-leaving adventure of a lifetime. The Founder of Cirque du Soleil and the ONE DROP Foundation will become Canada’s first private explorer in space and the first to engage in a Poetic Social Mission in Space.

During his 12-day stay aboard the International Space Station (ISS), Laliberté’s unique social/humanitarian mission will have one clear purpose: to raise humanity’s awareness of water-related issues.

Traveling has always been a part of Laliberté’s life, and he has been researching the possibility of space travel since 2004. That being said, the timing and purpose needed to be right.

This is the time... The first Poetic Social Mission in Space is a symbolic moment for Laliberté.

After 25 years, Cirque du Soleil will be introduced to Russia, the country where Laliberté is training for his voyage and from where the Soyuz TMA-16 rocket will launch him and the Expedition 21 crew into space. The timing could not be more appropriate!

The purpose is also clear... Laliberté’s mission in space is dedicated to making an impact on how water, our most precious resource, is protected and shared. And he will be applying tools he has used so well for most of his life to bring about change: arts and culture.

Information about our world’s water-related issues will be conveyed using a singular poetic approach. The messages he will transmit from the ISS will build awareness for ONE DROP Foundation initiatives, its objectives and dream of "Water for all, all for water."

Read about ONE DROP's work in Nicaragua with Oxfam also - here.

Shared via AddThis

Stockholm Water Prize Awarded to Bindeshwar Pathak and Sulabh International

I have been following Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak's work for years at Sulabh International, including a visit to his workshop and the Toilet Museum in New Delhi a couple of years ago. Don't forget to check out the Sanitation Fashion Show.

Great to see Sulabh win the Stockholm Water Prize a few days ago in Sweden. It's about time to see sanitation included in water discussions and global water events instead of it being the unruly red-headed stepchild at the kiddie table. We won't solve the global safe drinking water challenge, or stay on top of it when we do, if we don't deal with the untreated human waste of 2.5b people.

As the India Journal quoted:

If water is honored by the Prize being named after it, the importance of sanitation, its sibling, cannot be left far behind. The two complement rather than compete with each other,” Pathak said in his acceptance speech.
Yes. Go Dr. Pathak.

Friday, August 28, 2009

National Geographic - looking for water writers

The National Geographic is looking for story pitches about the global water and sanitation challenge and its solutions for a new series in National Geographic News.

For aspiring writers and waterbloggers, the Geographic's Tasha Eichenseher writes:

If you have ideas and pitches you are shopping around, I'd love to read them. I believe our news site is getting about three million page views a month, so this is a great way to share what you've found. I'd like the news series to be primarily feature stories with a local flavor -- stories about the people and other species affected by diminishing water resources. Ideally we'll balance out stories of peril with stories of progress and hope. I am also interested in breaking news about new programs, tech solutions, scientific studies, and policies and their potential positive or negative implications. And definitely always looking for the quirky, unexpected, and bizarre.

Some more detail about the series:

Clean Water for All

By 2050 a third of the planet's people could be without a clean, secure source of water—a necessity for life. A special news series by National Geographic News explores the local stories and global trends defining the world's water crisis.


50 new articles -- National Geographic News word-counts and rates apply (an average of U.S.$400 per story, depending on length.)

Themes include:

  • Water and Health
  • Sanitation
  • Conflict
  • Competition
  • Habitats and aquatic species
  • Climate
  • Engineering
  • Energy
  • Food
  • Population growth
  • Innovation
  • Tech solutions
  • Policy solutions
  • Embedded and virtual water
  • Sacred water
  • Interesting projects and people


September 15, 2009 – June 15, 2010

If interested, please submit pitches, including potential ledes and sources to Tasha Eichenseher at TEichens (at)

Monday, August 24, 2009

WSSCC Openings (Geneva)

From one of the organizations doing some of the most interesting, effective work in the global water and sanitation sector currently: the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC):


Please feel free to circulate these new post announcements at the WSSCC Secretariat in Geneva within your respective networks.

Ø Programme Manager, Networking and Knowledge Management
Ø Programme Manager, Advocacy and Communications

If the link doesn't work then go to and click under "Join the Team". Other WSSCC project officer posts for our Global Sanitation Fund and Networking and Knowledge Management departments will also be announced in the coming days on the UNOPS site and at

Friday, August 21, 2009

USAID Water Finance Website - launched

If one subscribes to the theory that true sustainability happens when development meets capitalism, then finance is clearly an important part of the solution to the global water and sanitation challenge, at many levels (e.g. capex, social entrepreneurs, microcredit/microfinance, etc.)

I do subscribe to that theory - with the 'poorest of the poor' caveat (grantmaking will likely never totally disappear) - so it's good to see USAID's Development Credit Authority launching their USAID Water Finance Website at Stockholm's World Water Week.

In USAID's words:
The Water Finance Website is designed to help you integrate finance into your broader WSH [Water, Sanitation, Hygiene] strategy. Financing is especially crucial to the development of WSH services because those services are very capital intensive. Just as WSH services need to be technically sound and sustainable from an environmental perspective, they also need to be financially sustainable in order to develop adequately. By including financing in the development of a strategy to promote pro-poor WSH services, you will be helping to assure that technical, environmental and health results achieved will continue beyond the end of funding any one individual activity.
Curious as to their definition of financial sustainability, I logged in and found this: "Financial sustainability is achieved when sufficient funding is available so that service providers can continuously reduce the number of poor and marginalized people who lack adequate access to WSH services."

One way or another, these services have to be paid for, by the government through public sector finance, or by private citizens, farmers, businesses. Those without such services are paying for that in time, healthcare costs, lost wages and other opportunities.

Note that most of the developed world does not of course meet this "financial sustainability" criterion for water and wastewater resources management or else we would not have a half trillion dollar financing infrastructure gap in the US alone. Stay tuned for more on water pricing.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Global Water Survey: Results

Some encouraging news from Carl Ganter and the always-impressive Circle of Blue at World Water Week:


A quick summary from

A close look at the results shows that people around the world view water pollution as the most important facet of the freshwater crisis, and that shortages of fresh water are very close behind. Across the 15 countries surveyed:

• 93 percent say water pollution is a very serious (72 percent) or somewhat serious (21 percent) problem.

• 91 percent believe that a shortage of fresh water is a very serious (71 percent) or somewhat serious (20 percent) problem.

Across the seven focus countries:

• Government is considered among the most responsible for ensuring clean water.

• 78 percent say “solving drinking water problems will require significant help from companies,” indicating that partnerships are an important component to resolving the world’s freshwater sustainability challenges.

• 76 percent say “I need more information to be able to do more to protect water.”

While people around the world agree on the importance of the issue, some key differences between the countries surveyed support the idea that solutions will have to be carefully tailored to local conditions.

These findings are helpful for water writ large, and highlight a couple of really important topics:

- At the end of the day, meeting peoples' needs for safe drinking water and sanitation is the responsibility of the governments around the world. If those governments chose to outsource some of the infrastructure provision, I have no issue with that per se. Those governments need to maintain the intellectual capacity to manage that relationship so that the outsourced provider is not simply focused on profit, but on the social contract.

- Solutions will indeed need to be tailored for each local condition. There are so many social externalities associated with water and sanitation/hygiene that the cultural piece of this puzzle may prove to be the most challenging.

- I need to dig into the report further, but I hope that its definition of 'pollution' includes not just industrial/chemical contaminants running into water supplies, but nasty biological contaminants like rotavirus and vibrio cholerae, which kill millions of people unnecessarily each year. However, considering that quality typically lags quantity, it's good to see quality taking the spotlight in this survey period.

And of course MUST give shout out to Molson Coors Brewing Co. for their support for this survey. Molson can spend its money (part of it from me...) on many things, and I am glad they chose this.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

World Humanitarian Day

Happy World Humanitarian Day!

From the United Nations media advisory:

Established by the General Assembly of the United Nations, 19 August 2009 is the first World Humanitarian Day. The designation of the Day is a way to increase public understanding of humanitarian assistance activities worldwide. The Day also aims to honour humanitarian workers who have lost their lives or been injured in the course of their work.

Why 19 August? - Six years ago, on 19 August 2003, the United Nations office in Iraq was bombed and 22 people lost their lives. Among them was Sergio Vieira de Mello, at that time the UN’s High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General to Iraq. While there have been many other fatal incidents involving humanitarian personnel the General Assembly decided to use the anniversary of this incident as World Humanitarian Day.

So a quick shout out to some of our favorite humanitarians:

Clarissa Brocklehurst of UNICEF's Water and Environmental Sanitation program.

Chris Williams of UN Habitat.

Jamie Bartram, formerly of the World Health Organization, now at the University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health.

Lots more where these came from, but let's start here and get the festivities rolling.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

WASH in Schools - UNICEF at World Water Week

It's a busy time for global water and sanitation challenges at the World Water Week in Stockholm.

Of note: UNICEF is using its time there to promote part of its approach to the challenge, which they call WASH in Schools - Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Education in Schools.

If you are at all unsure about the impact that safe drinking water and single gender sanitation can have on schools, please watch a brief video that UNICEF has produced here.

And more on UNICEF's website:

And more from Water Advocates here.

I have been saying for a long time that the only thing that can compete with safe drinking water and sanitation on the hierarchy of development needs is girls' education. UNICEF's work with WASH in Schools pulls it all together nicely.

Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy - Awards Nomination

Paul Newman launched the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy several years ago.

They have just announced the nomination period for their Excellence Awards in Corporate Philanthropy. From CECP:

There are three corporate award categories:

Chairman’s Award: company with 2008 revenues equal to or greater than US$20bn.
President’s Award: company with 2008 revenues between US$5bn and US$20bn.
Founder’s Award: company with 2008 revenues less than US$5bn.

Additionally, there is a Director’s Nonprofit Award, given annually to a nonprofit for its partnership with a corporation. The winning nonprofit receives a $25,000 check from CECP’s directors.

The Waterblogger would really like to see a water-related corporate/nonprofit partnership win this time around. There are a lot of examples, some of which are featured in CECP's own recent newsletter:

The programs are evaluated by an independent selection committee according to the following criteria: CEO Leadership, Innovation, Partnership, and Measurement.

More information about the nominating process here.

Monday, August 17, 2009

UPI and Global Water

An upcoming event I want to make you aware of:

Hosted by United Press International, Our Water is the first in a series of topic-related forums that aim to bring together experts and decision makers, as well as traditional and citizen journalists to discuss some of the most pertinent issues facing our world today. Our Water will include a speakers' panel consisting of experts and organizations that are actively working to solve the pressing problems resulting from a lack of access to clean water around the world. This distinguished panel will provide vital information on economic and political aspects of the problems surrounding preventable water-related illnesses, as well as tangible solutions to this critical matter.

Why Water?

After oxygen, water is the most essential resource for the human body. Over half of the human body is composed of water, nearly 70% of the world is covered in water, and yet less than one percent of the freshwater on the planet is readily available for consumption. Without access to sustainable, clean water resources, people are forced to drink contaminated, unsanitary water. In more than 150 countries, including Pakistan, Indonesia, Iraq, and areas of sub-Saharan Africa, West Africa, South Asia, Central America and Europe, among others, between 2 and 5 million people across the globe die each year without access to clean water.

Panelists include PSI's Sally Cowal, Water Advocates' John Sauer, George Mason University's Abul Hussam, charity: water's Becky Straw, and CSIS' Katherine Bliss.

See the current list of panelists.

For more details, download UPI's Our Water press packet here or contact:

Thursday, July 30, 2009

"Water is Medicine" Capitol Hill Briefing - Jae So of the Water and Sanitation Program

From the July 29, 2009 Capitol Hill Briefing "Water is Medicine" please take a moment to watch Jae So's interview from the Water and Sanitation Program (a global partnership administered by the World Bank):

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Capitol Hill Briefing: Water is Medicine

See you tomorrow in Washington DC!

Water is Medicine
Capitol Hill Briefing
July 29, 2009

On Wednesday July 29, 2009, the bipartisan Congressional Water Caucus and Water Advocates are hosting a Capitol Hill Briefing in Washington, DC on the vital linkages between safe drinking water, sanitation and global public health challenges:

** Water is Medicine: Safe Water, Sanitation and Global Public Health Challenges **

Speakers will discuss the gravity of the current global safe drinking water and sanitation challenge, and its critical impact on global public health, including the 25+ diseases due to unsafe water and inadequate sanitation. Speakers will also review what is currently being done around the world to help meet the need for safe water, improved sanitation and better health, and offer examples and case studies of what the U.S. government and others in the international donor community are doing to help meet and exceed the Millennium Development Goals for water, sanitation and health. The costs associated with this challenge will be addressed, as will the impact of inaction on health and economic development.

What: Capitol Hill Briefing, "Water is Medicine: Safe Water, Sanitation and Global Public Health Challenges"

Who: Speakers will include noted public health experts and leaders from prominent international aid agencies

· Christine Moe, Director, Center for Global Safe Water
Emory University

· Jae So, Manager, Water and Sanitation Program
Global Partnership administered by the World Bank

· Rich Thorsten, Director of International Programs,
Co-founded by Matt Damon and Gary White

Moderated by John Oldfield, Water Advocates

When: Wednesday, July 29, 2009, 2pm - 3pm

Where: Capitol Visitor Center, South Meeting Room
Please allow time for security clearance.

Please circulate this invitation widely.

RSVP to Water Advocates at

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

What recession? More jobs for water people...

Water For People currently has five positions to fill. The following job listings are on their website:
  • Senior Accountant
  • Administrative Assistant
  • Marketing Assistant
  • Major Gifts Coordinator
  • Volunteer Services, Training and Research Administrative Assistant

If you are interested in any of the positions, please visit here.

Matt Damon, Gary White, and

Matt Damon, H2O Africa co-founder, and Gary White, WaterPartners executive director and co-founder, have joined forces to co-found a new organization – – a non-profit focused on bringing access to safe water and sanitation to the developing world. will leverage grassroots awareness-building expertise and nearly two decades of demonstrated innovation and success in the sector to help the nearly 890 million people without safe water and the more than 2.5 billion people without safe sanitation.

Matt Damon, a long-time advocate for safe water issues, explains the importance of launching “Every 15 seconds, a child in the developing world dies from water-related disease. After visiting project sites in Africa and Asia with Gary, I’ve seen the problem and the impact of safe water.” Damon said, “As a clear leader in the sector at delivering innovative and sustainable solutions for those in need, WaterPartners was the natural choice with whom to work to truly affect lasting change.”

Gary White sees a bright future for and the people it serves. “For more than 20 years I’ve been working to realize the vision of global access to safe water, and with the help of our donors, staff, partner organizations, and the H2OAfrica team, I’m confident we can accelerate our impact,” said White, the Executive Director of the new organization. White, who recently received the Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship, said will set the stage for even broader impact in the sector. “It will open the door to advocacy work, and bring the water issue to new heights in the public’s consciousness.”

The merger of H2O Africa and WaterPartners will improve efficiencies, leverage expertise, and increase the overall social return on donations. will be an integrated advocacy and fundraising destination for safe water and sanitation issues. Through its partners worldwide, it will champion innovative business models, local partner development, project selection and oversight, program management, and post-development monitoring and evaluation. Later this year, the organization will launch an entirely new online experience that will bring unprecedented transparency and connectedness between donors and those in need.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

My Water Career - job postings

A resource for water-related jobs I have been perusing for some time:

Among new vacancies are the following positions:

UNESCO-IHE – Professor of Water Supply Engineering, The Netherlands The professor in Water Supply Engineering gives overall academic leadership to the core in its international education, research and capacity building activities.
Watsan Projects Manager, Badakhshan region, Afghanistan Effectively manage water and sanitation projects in line with objectives, budget and timeframe.
Civil Engineer with MSc equiv. (m/f/) for worldwide project assignments Proyry are looking for a Project Manager / Senior Project Engineer specialized in Water Supply.
Civil Engineer with MSc equiv. (m/f/), Germany Proyry are also looking for a Project Director / Senior Project Manager specialized in Water Supply for their Germany office.

And so on - great resource.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy: Global Water Crisis

I think you might be interested in the most recent issue of The Corporate Philanthropist published by the Center Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy (founded by the late Paul Newman).

The Corporate Philanthropist
Spring/Summer 2009 issue: The Global Water Crisis

“The shortage of clean drinking water and lack of access to sanitation in areas of the developing world requires the involvement of all sectors of society, including business. This edition of The Corporate Philanthropist focuses on the global water crisis, exploring how companies can partner and collaborate with multilateral organizations, governments, local enterprises, and nonprofit organizations in order to work towards innovative, sustainable solutions, while reinforcing business strategies. Articles highlight the philanthropic strategies at Coca-Cola, Dow Chemical, GlaxoSmithKline, ITT, and Pepsi, among many other companies.”
Articles include:

· The Water Crisis: A New Way Forward
· The Senator Paul Simon Water for the World Act of 2009
· Engagement with Multilateral Organizations
· Innovative Financing of Water Projects
· Water Needs Public-Private Partnerships
· Resources for Water Partnerships

Kudos to the many companies highlighted who are part of the solution. To the others: chop chop. This global water issue isn't going to solve itself. Some encouragement regarding the potential upside of water and corporate social responsibility initiatives:

Topline impact: business opportunities and market positioning, especially in the fastest-growing markets in the developing world.

Bottom line impact: save money and time, and minimize risk. Business decisions will be better if the water issue is incorporated early in decision-making processes, e.g. where to locate a new factory, how and from whom to source raw materials, how to establish and maintain relationships with local communities.

Prouder employees in rich countries, and prouder and healthier employees in poor countries.

Enhanced corporate reputation and image in the developed as well as in the developing world:
- Better relations with governments and local communities throughout thedeveloping world: water projects are an effective way of minimizing the risk of being seen as ‘just taking, not giving.’
- Better relations with financial and other stakeholders in the developed world – water is increasingly being highlighted in annual reports, and annual citizenship reports. Some companies are even publishing reports dedicated entirely to their management of water resources, for example Nestlé’s 2006 Water Management Report

Saves lives of children, and improves livelihoods - of poor women in particular -throughout the developing world.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Water is Medicine: Capitol Hill Briefing July 29, 2009

Invitation - Water is Medicine - Capitol Hill Briefing - July 29

On Wednesday July 29, 2009, the bipartisan Congressional Water Caucus and Water Advocates are hosting a Capitol Hill Briefing in Washington DC on the vital linkages between safe drinking water, sanitation and global public health challenges:

Water is Medicine: Safe Water, Sanitation and Global Public Health Challenges

Speakers will discuss the gravity of the current global safe drinking water and sanitation challenge, and its critical impact on global public health, including the 25+ diseases due to unsafe water and inadequate sanitation. Speakers will also review what is currently being done around the world to help meet the need for safe water, improved sanitation and better health, and offer examples and case studies of what the U.S. government and others in the international donor community are doing to help meet and exceed the Millennium Development Goals for water, sanitation and health. The costs associated with this challenge will be addressed, as will the impact of inaction on health and economic development.

What: Capitol Hill Briefing, "Water is Medicine: Safe Water, Sanitation and Global Public Health Challenges"

Who: Speakers will include noted public health experts and leaders from prominent international aid agencies

  • Dr. Christine Moe, Director, Center for Global Safe Water, Emory University
  • Ms. Jae So, Manager, Water and Sanitation Program
  • UNICEF (invited)

When: Wednesday, July 29, 2009, 2pm - 3pm

Where: Capitol Visitor Center, South Meeting Room

Please circulate this invitation widely, and RSVP to Water Advocates at

Millennum Water Alliance - Job posting

JOB OPPORTUNITY at Millennium Water Alliance – Senior Contract/Grant Officer

We wish to recruit a Senior Contract/Grant Officer to serve as a contact person and principal advisor to the MWA staff for compliance issues related to public and private sector funding.

Position is offered on a contractual consultancy basis and will be part time; approximately 200-250 hours a year. Office space is to be provided by the applicant. Please indicate compensation expectations.

Key responsibilities include:
1. Advise management and oversee compliance for various types of financial assistance awards, cooperative agreements, grants, sub grants, memorandums of understanding, etc.
2. Advise and recommend regarding, and coordinate and/or negotiate, new awards, amendments or modifications with various donor agencies, including compliance reviews.
3. Advise and recommend input and technical support during concept paper and proposal development and submission processes.
4. Advise, develop and implement various policies, procedures and systems to help comply with governmental policies, procedures, regulations and statutes, including micro-credit loan programs.
5. Draft appropriate legal agreements for awards, etc.
6. Advise and coordinate with other personnel within the organization to ensure adherence to donor requirements.
7. Develop and maintain relationships with various donor personnel so as to be as effective as possible and to keep apprised of policy and regulatory changes.
8. Oversee management of legal files.
9. Mentor and/or provide compliance training to staff.

Five years direct experience with contract/grants agreements and compliance with USAID preferably with an international NGO.

Please provide resume or CV, three references and indicate compensation rates.

Contact: Alvin Tans, Treasurer,, 803-547-6541

Friday, June 26, 2009

Water for the Poor Act Congressional Report, June 2009

The Paul Simon Water for the Poor Act Congressional Report, June 2009 was released today by the U.S. Department of State. I'll have a quick review of the document shortly. In the interim, please see Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's superb introduction to the document:

I am pleased to present the 2009 Report to Congress on the implementation of the Senator Paul Simon Water for the Poor Act. Perhaps no two issues are more important to human health, economic development, and peace and security than basic sanitation and access to sustainable supplies of water.

I have witnessed this first-hand. Without reliable supplies of clean water, people cannot live, farmers cannot grow crops, and the environment on which we all depend cannot survive. Without proper sanitation, human health and dignity suffer, and the environment and water supplies often become contaminated. Together, we must work to ensure that no child dies from a preventable water-related disease, that no girl fears going to school for lack of access to a separate toilet, that no woman walks six kilometers to collect water for her family, and that no war is ever fought over

In his inaugural address on January 20, 2009, President Obama said “[T]o the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow; to nourish starved bodies and feed hungry minds.” I can think of no better way to honor the legacy of Senator Paul Simon, who did so much for so many, than to commit ourselves to achieving this vision and the ideals of the Senator Paul Simon Water for the Poor Act.

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Water Advocates is hiring - Water, Schools and Health

Director of Global Water, Health and Schools

Water Advocates ( is a small but influential nonprofit advocacy group in Washington DC (DuPont Circle area) dedicated to helping solve the global safe drinking water and sanitation challenge. Water Advocates neither implements programs overseas nor seeks funding for itself, but works to raise awareness of and funding for the global water and sanitation sector as a whole.

The Director of Global Water, Health and Schools is responsible for planning and implementing Water Advocates’ outreach and advocacy program focused on a) water, sanitation, and global public health and b) the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) in Schools Initiative. He/she will play a leading role in the growth of Water Advocates’ ambitious outreach program and will serve as one of the main advocates and representatives of Water Advocates and its allies.


The Director’s main role will be to support the overall mission of Water Advocates to significantly increase awareness of and financial support for the global safe drinking water and sanitation sector from private and public US-based supporters. He/she will maintain and grow the existing WASH in Schools Initiative, and identify and pursue new funding opportunities, special initiatives, communications efforts, and other projects concerning the linkages between water, sanitation and global public health.


Knowledge of and experience with the global safe drinking water and sanitation sector and linkages to other international human development challenges; experienced in working with global health and education
· Networking expertise, preferably with strong existing relationships in the community of potential funders; ability to broker partnerships, including across development sectors
· Excellent research skills, and the ability to deliver compelling arguments to new and existing funders (strong written and oral communication)
MPH or related degree preferred
· Able to travel occasionally (domestic)
· Able to work independently and creatively

Desired Skills
Commitment to values, mission and vision of Water Advocates; engagement in global health and/or development issues, preferably with a focus on safe drinking water and sanitation, health and education challenges
Strong background in outreach/advocacy/program management; record of proactive efforts to build new relationships with potential supporters/funders and expanding/strengthening existing relationships
Experience with basic fund-raising and communications techniques
Ability to develop, plan and implement specific short- and long-term outreach goals
Demonstrated public speaking skills, and experience in planning and facilitating meetings
Ability and desire to work in a small organization with a consensus-oriented environment with different work styles
Ability to use modern/leading edge communications tools and software applications, and excellent written communication skills
High-energy, love of challenge, and ability to be effective in a constantly changing environment

Writing samples will be required.

This position is located in Washington, DC. This is a full-time exempt position, lasting from date of hire through December 31, 2010. Salary range is commensurate with experience. Some domestic travel may be required. Water Advocates is an Equal Opportunity Employer/Affirmative Action Employer that is committed to diversity in the workplace.

Please send résumé and cover letter to

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Skoll Foundation Awards for Social Entrepreneurship - Water Scarcity is a priority area for 2009

I just got a note from a friend at the Skoll Foundation who brought to my attention the fact that water scarcity is one of five priority areas for this year's Skoll Foundation awards for social entrepreneurs.

Please let your water and sanitation networks know of this opportunity, which could lead to $750,000 in support for worthy causes, including - quite recently - Gary White and WaterPartners International.

Award guidelines are here and the next deadline is August 12.

From Skoll:

The Skoll Foundation’s mission is to advance systemic change to benefit communities around the world by investing in, connecting and celebrating social entrepreneurs. We believe that social entrepreneurs see opportunities where others see problems and crises. They apply innovative solutions to social and environmental issues, empowering people and communities to envision and create positive change. They work in many kinds of organizations, including nonprofits, social purpose ventures such as community development banks, and hybrid organizations that mix elements of nonprofit and for-profit organizations.

More detail on the ideal applicant:

Qualifying organizations will:

· Be led by a social entrepreneur.
· Have implemented innovative programs that demonstrate effective approaches to the critical social and environmental challenges of our time.
· Be able to describe a clear, long-term path to creating equilibrium change.
· Demonstrate proof of concept with measurable outcomes.
· Have a clear, compelling plan for reaching scale.
· Demonstrate a track record of at least three years.
· Have a clear plan for long term financial and operational sustainability.
· Commit to work with peers and the Skoll Foundation to share learning and communicate success stories.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Asia Society event: June 3, 2009 - New York City

For those of you in New York City, please consider attending this event tomorrow (also available by webcast):

Private-Sector Approaches to Water Management for the Poor
(Innovations in Microfinance Series)

Approximately 1.1 billion people lack clean water supplies and 2.7 billion have no access to proper sanitation. To combat conditions that lead to sickness and disease, low income families across Asia are asking for clean water and improved sanitation to keep their families healthy and productive. Sophisticated modern piped water networks are too expensive for most developing countries and poor people living in the slums often pay 5 to 10 times more per liter of water than wealthy people living in the same city. Sensing a business opportunity, microfinance organizations are beginning to explore the market for making water more accessible to the poor.

Learn about innovative private sector microfinance approaches to water management that have been used for a range of purposes from purchasing household water connections and clean water storage units, like rainwater harvesting tanks to the construction of household latrines.Opening remarks by Bruce Schlein, Vice President, Corporate Sustainability Unit, Citi.

- Rama K., Senior Vice President, Basix
- Claire Lyons, Manager, PepsiCo Foundation
- Paul Sathianathan, Executive Director, Gramalaya Urban and Rural Development Initiatives and Network (GUARDIAN) (India)
- Kurt Soderlund, CEO, Safe Water Network (USA)
- Gary White, Executive Director and Co-founder, WaterPartners International (USA)

Moderator: Nicola Armacost, Managing Director & Co-Founder, Arc Finance

* * *This event will be a free live video webcast from app. 12:30 to 2:00 pm EST on

Date: June 3rd
Registration: 12:00-12:30 pm; luncheon/discussion: 12:30 - 2:00 pm
Location: New York Asia Society and Museum, 8th floor, 725 Park Avenue, New York
Cost: $50 members, $75 nonmembers, $35 students w/ ID (meal not included)

Buy Tickets Online

Phone: 212-517-ASIA

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Rotary International and water/sanitation

For Rotarians in the house, I encourage you to consider attending WASRAG's World Water Summit in Birmingham UK on June 19th.

WASRAG has to be the worst acronym ever, but they put on a good show. An impressive list of panelists will discuss the issues of community mobilization and health and hygiene promotion.

The agenda:

Birmingham Water Summit Agenda

Registration is open until April 20th. If you plan to join them, please go immediately to the website and click on "Register Now."

Monday, April 6, 2009

Aveda Lights the Way for Clean Water

Blogging on Water readers know that women in many parts of the world walk up to 6km to fetch safe water for their households. Then they walk to find firewood or cow dung or kerosene to burn to make that water potable enough that it won't kill their children.

Aveda is giving its fans the opportunity to do the same (minus the 45 pounds of cholera-infested water on their heads and the breathing cow dung fumes parts) for Earth Day April 22. Check out their Walk for Water and take a minute to read about Aveda's CSR work on Earth Month here.

If salons are your thing, as I know they are for at least one Waterblogger fan, stop by an Aveda outfit, do your do, and invest in a Light the Way Candle, made with certified organic French lavender (mmmm certified organic French lavender...) 100% of the proceeds go to support Global Greengrants Fund's (GGF) water-related projects.

Let's move some candles people.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

And now a job in Sanitation!

If I weren't making huge money as the Waterblogger, I would seriously consider this:

Job Title: Executive Director, World Toilet Organization

Location: Singapore (some regional travel required)

WTO is looking for an Executive Director to lead the organization into the next phase of growth and development. Over the past 9 years, under the guidance and supervision of the Founder Jack Sim, WTO has made great strides in creating global impact and furthering the cause of sanitation. Founded in 2001 with 15 members, WTO now has 182 member organizations in 56 countries.

Through global advocacy, knowledge management, capacity development, member services and market facilitation, WTO acts as a global platform to highlight sanitation as a smart social investment and to break the toilet taboo. We are seeking for a dynamic and motivated Executive Director who is able to continue and build on the momentum created, help WTO grow and diversify into various service areas and most importantly to strengthen the organization's capacity to help build a stronger and sustainable organization.

The role is challenging, offering significant international exposure and presents a great opportunity to lead and develop an institution which has the potential to make worldwide social impact.

In the month of April 2009, we invite applications for the post of Executive Director. If you are interested in applying, please take note of the following details. Do you know any individual who may be interested in applying for this job? If so please forward this announcement and help further disseminate this information.

Electronic Application Submission to:

Application closes: 24 April (Only shortlisted candidates will be notified)

Position Description: please visit World Toilet Organization.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Rainwater Harvesting / Safe Water Network announcement

I have been hearing rumblings about the progress of the late Paul Newman's Safe Water Network for months now, but its website has remained mysterious. Big names, few details...

Change has come - with a very interesting announcement this week: a partnership between Safe Water Network, Bhoruka Charitable Trust, the Centre for microFinance, and the Institute of Health Management Research for a "rainwater harvesting optimization" program in the state of Rajasthan, India.

My words:

- rainwater harvesting is an important part of the safe drinking water (and sanitation) challenges impacting billions of people around the world.
- rainwater harvesting is a proven millennia-old system, but is often overlooked by planners.
- rainwater harvesting is one of the most effective climate change adaptation mechanisms, and will help the world deal with the vision gap so prominent at the Poznan climate change conference.
- although I don't have very good visibility into the inner workings of this initiative, it appears to deal with both the hardware (equipment, technical aspects) and the software (behavior change) of rainwater harvesting. It aims not just at the number of rainwater systems that can be built, but also at health outcomes.
- good example of thoughtful corporate social responsibility by PepsiCo Foundation, and I'm looking forward to learning more.

Their words:

Safe Water Network, Bhoruka Charitable Trust, the Center for microFinance, & the Institute of Health Management Research Collaborate on a Rainwater Harvesting Initiative.

JAIPUR, INDIA (March 31, 2009) Safe Water Network – a not-for-profit dedicated to the development of reliable, sustainable, and scalable water solutions for the world’s poor – announced today a partnership with India-based organizations Bhoruka Charitable Trust, the Centre for microFinance, and the Institute of Health Management Research for a rainwater harvesting optimization program in the state of Rajasthan, India. This 18-month initiative expands on a recently completed program that delivered rainwater harvesting systems to 15 villages in the Churu District of Rajasthan.

The program supports the development and validation of improvements in three areas: cistern design, water quality, and funding tools. The program also includes the completion of a white paper, which will make policy recommendations specific to Rajasthan. Learnings from the initiative will be shared with others who are working around the world to help the nearly one billion people living in areas of acute water scarcity.

“This work builds on findings from our initial project” says Kurt Soderlund, Chief Executive Officer, Safe Water Network. “We are pleased to partner with these Rajasthan-based organizations to take a comprehensive approach that will bring measurable improvements to the ancient practice of rainwater harvesting.”

Bhoruka Charitable Trust will construct more than 600 household level rainwater cisterns (kund) and refurbish 32 community-level cisterns, bringing safe water to approximately 10,000 individuals throughout 40 villages. “Through the improvement and standardization of the cistern, we are creating a more durable, affordable, and easy-to-replicate rainwater harvesting program,” says Amitava Banerjee, Executive Director, Bhoruka Charitable Trust. “And, through the education of local masons, we will ensure the systems are well maintained and therefore operational and functional over time.”

The Institute of Health Management Research is supporting the “software” elements of the program – including water quality management, health and hygiene promotion, working with government liaisons, and preparing the white paper for policy makers. This includes social marketing strategies and advocacy programs to communicate opportunities in rainwater harvesting to stakeholders in the State of Rajasthan. “This is a unique opportunity to demonstrate opportunities for local communities and government officials to pursue the considerable advantages of rainwater harvesting, which realizes significant economic and environmental benefits,” says Goutam Sadhu, Program Director, Institute of Health Management Research. “If delivered correctly, and combined with the proper community participation, rainwater harvesting can be a powerful tool in significantly reducing the incidence of water-borne illness and disease as well as the widespread suffering caused by water scarcity.”

The participation of the Centre for microFinance will demonstrate alternative funding models that enable villagers to obtain loans to pay for their water harvesting facilities over time. “What we’ve learned from past work with rainwater harvesting is that traditional donor programs and subsidy models alone are too expensive to be replicated at a large scale,” says Jai Pal Singh, Executive Director, Centre for microFinance. “We will identify approaches that balance the need for subsidies with access to microcredit facilities to best ensure affordability for all those in need, including the extreme poor.”

Safe Water Network’s rainwater harvesting initiative in Rajasthan is funded, in part, by PepsiCo Foundation. “This project supports PepsiCo Foundation’s commitment to investing in organizations that create and implement sustainable programs to improve the environment and health around the world,” says Claire Lyons, Manager of Global Grant Programs, PepsiCo Foundation. “In collaboration with Safe Water Network and our extended network of partners in India, we are working towards bringing safe water and healthy practices to those in the greatest need. “

About Safe Water Network
Headquartered in Westport, CT, Safe Water Network is a 501(c)3 cofounded in 2007 by actor and philanthropist Paul Newman and several leading civic and business leaders to deliver safe, reliable, and affordable water to the nearly one billion people who currently live without access to potable water. With its funding and expertise, Safe Water Network supports multi-sector and multi-disciplinary partnerships that create comprehensive, sustainable, and ultimately scalable solutions for our world’s water crisis. Safe Water Network’s projects are funded, in part, by PepsiCo Foundation and Newman’s Own Foundation. For more information, please visit or email

About Bhoruka Charitable Trust
Headquartered in Jaipur, BCT is a Social Service Institution incorporated in 1962 under the Public Charitable Trust Act by Shri P D Agarwal to “uplift the underprivileged” through the physical, social, cultural, and economic development of rural people and institutions. For more information, visit

About the Institute of Health Management Research
Established in 1984 in Jaipur by Dr. Ashok Agarwal, IIHMR is recognized as a “Research Institution” and is working in collaboration with WHO Centre for District Health System for Primary Health Care, with attention solely focused on health systems management. The Institute undertakes training, research, and consultancy in health management in close collaboration with international organizations such as UNFPA, UNICEF, World Bank, ODA, DANIDA, KFW & GTZ, NORAD, CARE, USAID, Johns Hopkins University, and New Jersey Institute of Technology. For more information, visit

About the Centre for microFinance (CmF)The CmF was established in Jaipur (Rajasthan) in 2005 to widen, deepen, and upscale the microfinance movement in Rajasthan. The Centre is an autonomous institution set up to provide a wide range of technical and other support services to microfinance players, focusing specifically on networking and collaboration. For more information, visit

About PepsiCo Foundation
Established in 1962, PepsiCo Foundation is the philanthropic anchor of PepsiCo and responsible for providing charitable contributions to eligible non-profit organizations. The Foundation is committed to developing sustainable partnerships and programs in underserved regions that provide opportunities for improved health, environment and inclusion. In 2008 alone, PepsiCo Foundation contributed $30 million towards programs to help achieve the vision of creating a better tomorrow for the global community. For more information visit:

Anne Wells
Safe Water Network
atmwells [at]

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Cholera in Africa: More crappy news

It really (really) pisses me off when cholera is in the news - again. Cholera should not exist. It angers me even more when it is featured so prominently in so much of the reporting reaching my desk from many parts of the developing world, particularly in Africa. Cholera is preventable. If cholera kills someone, the world is doing something wrong.

The latest piece of shitty news is this disturbing piece from Kenya, where cholera is hitting a little too close to home:

Obama Brother May Have Cholera

and from the Associated Press:

Official: Obama's half-brother falls ill in Kenya

We hope that it is just a nasty case of diarrhea. We hope that this will be treated (as it can be quite easily) and that Malik Obama will be back at work soon. We hope that it is not cholera, and if it is, we hope even more that it doesn't kill him like it does many other Africans, preventably.

Keys to cholera:

- It is dangerous (viz. fatal all too often).
- It is easily spread through lack of simple safe drinking water and sanitation facilities.
- It is treatable.
- Most importantly, it is preventable, and both the international donor community and every government throughout the developing world can do something about it.


This steady stream of cholera in the news has to stop. Cholera mortality and morbidity must stop. The White House is in an extraordinarily strong position to contribute to the elimination of fatal cholera and other diarrheal disease. For an interesting and related take on unnecessary and preventable childhood mortality please see Nicholas Kristof's piece Good News: Karlo Will Live. And call the White House.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Jobs! The water sector is growing...

The global water sector is growing... and staffing up. Some interesting positions (see below) opening up at the Global Water Challenge, launched by the UN Foundation several years ago and now expanding rapidly.

One should also be aware of IWA Publishing's Catherine Fitzpatrick's somewhat more technical water jobs highlighted here.

GWC News

March 19, 2009 Job Opening: Director of Development and Strategic Partnerships
The role of the Director of Development and Strategic Partnerships is to support GWC's programs through fundraising and the development and stewardship of partnerships in the corporate, government, and civil society sectors.

March 19, 2009 Job Opening: Water & Sanitation Program Associate
The role of the Program Associate is to support the development and implementation of new initiatives and programs funded by GWC. The Associate will report directly to the Director of Programs and Initiatives and work closely with the entire GWC team.

March 19, 2009 Job Opening: Online Communications Manager
The Online Communications Manager will work with the Director of Communications to develop and oversee implementation of all the components of Global Water Challenge's online strategy. The Online Communications Manager is responsible for managing the comprehensive online strategy including content creation, design development, and on-line partnership building.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Mickey Sampson and the Big Latrine in the Sky

Mickey Sampson RIP.

A good friend of the Waterblogger, Mickey Sampson, went to the big latrine in the sky last week. He is missed by many around the world, particularly the thousands of Cambodians who had the pleasure of working with him, his family and colleagues.

If you did now know Mickey personally, please read below and visit for more information.

Death of RDIC founder-director Mickey Sampson:

Resource Development International-Cambodia is grieved to report the death of Michael Lynn (“Mickey”) Sampson, RDIC Founder and Country Director. Sampson, 43, had been experiencing health problems. He flew March 18 from Phnom Penh, Cambodia, to Bangkok, Thailand, for evaluation by a specialist. His untimely death occurred in the early morning of March 19. His body was found at the Bangkok house where he was staying. An autopsy revealed that the cause of death was a heart attack. Arrangements are being made for returning Dr. Sampson’s body to Cambodia for funeral services. He is survived by parents Jimmy and Diane Sampson, one brother James Sampson, his wife, Wendi, and their children, Michal, Madelyn, Isaiah, Zach, and Datelyn, their Khmai daughter. Resource Development International-Cambodia would not exist without Mickey Sampson’s vision, dedication, and devotion. He lived and worked in Cambodia with his family since 1998, concentrating most of his efforts on improving drinking water and sanitation for the Cambodian people. One in twelve Cambodian children dies before age 5, primarily from diarrheal disease due to contaminated water. A native of Louisville, Ky., Sampson received a Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Louisville and taught as an assistant professor of chemistry with the University of Kentucky college system. He first saw the struggle of Cambodians for clean water in the 1990s while teaching chemistry in Cambodia during a sabbatical year from the University of Kentucky. One day his wife called Mickey into their bathroom in Cambodia while she was giving their children a bath. The water was only three inches deep, but it was so murky she couldn't see the bottom of the bathtub. “She said, ‘You know, you're a chemist. Can't you do something about this?’” He told a reporter years later, "It was a turning point in my life."

Many others also told Mickey that he should use his skills for helping with the water needs of the poor. The Sampsons moved to Cambodia permanently in 1998. He worked with other non-governmental organizations to improve water quality. Eventually, however, he started Resource Development International-Cambodia to address Cambodia’s health and development problems in holistic ways. The organization provides education, water testing, water filtration systems, and construction, among other community-development initiatives. Under Sampson’s leadership, RDIC established a ceramic water filter manufacture and distribution system (manufacturing 25,000 filters in 2008), produced a Cambodian television series for children to promote literacy and healthy living, and worked extensively to alert Cambodians to the risks of drinking arsenic-laden groundwater. RDIC also has developed and implemented agricultural, water, health and educational programs in villages throughout Cambodia.Mickey believed Cambodian communities would not be transformed for the better without behavioral changes on all levels. The results have shown his methods worked.

After two years of using RDIC’s water filtration pots, participating Cambodians were 49 percent less likely to have diarrheal disease than their neighbors without the filters. Sampson co-authored a number of publications and supported research in partnership with international universities through RDIC's water research laboratory. He also was a member of the technical working group for the Cambodian government concerning how to address the UN’s “Millennium Target” to halve the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation by 2015. Mickey was widely known and respected in the international development and academic communities. His work with RDIC has been highlighted by a number of news and media outlets. National Public Radio (NPR) featured his creative campaign to educate Cambodians about unsafe drinking water via karaoke videos in a Jan. 27 profile: Karaoke Videos Teach Safe Water Techniques. Friends say "Mickey's faith made him compassionate for the peoples he loved and deeply cared. Countless lives have been touched by this expression of love in their lives." Mickey Sampson will be mourned and deeply missed by his many friends and colleagues, his family – and the thousands of Cambodians who now live healthy lives because of his work.

About the memorial service:

Your Excellencies, Friends, and Colleagues, A memorial service for Dr. Mickey Sampson will be held Saturday, March 28 at 17:30 at the RDI offices in Kien Svay, Cambodia. It has been delayed until Saturday to allow those traveling from outside Cambodia to arrive and to avoid conflicts with meetings occurring this week in Phnom Penh. All those wishing to pay respects are invited to attend.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Smart Power and Water

I'm not entirely convinced by the whole concept of "smart power," and if/how water can be an effective tool in this new arsenal.

That's why I'm hitting this event in DC this week:

You are invited to a CSIS Briefing for World Water Day with the
Bipartisan House Water Caucus

Water: A Strategic "Smart Power" Tool

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009
10:00 - 11:00 a.m. Rayburn Gold Room 2168

Speakers will include:

Krishna Jafa
HIV Director and Former Deputy Country Director of PSI/Zimbabwe
Population Services International

Greg Allgood
Director, Children's Safe Drinking Water
Senior Fellow in Sustainability
Procter & Gamble

Howard Passell
Water Resources Ecologist
Senior Member of the Technical Staff
Sandia National Laboratories

Ladeene Freimuth
President, The Freimuth Group, LLC
former Deputy Director, Tel Aviv Office, Friends of the Earth Middle East (FoEME)

Please RSVP by emailing chall [at]

This event is supported by: Population Services International (PSI), Procter & Gamble, the American Chemistry Council, PATH, the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.


Saturday, March 21, 2009

When are toilets the best way to save endangered fish?

What do you do if there is no traditional environmental solution to an environmental problem? You find a non-environmental solution.

Exhibit A: Lake Miragoâne in Haiti, currently featured in an insightful piece by Conservation International's Alex MacLennan:

If the most effective way to protect fish biodiversity in an endorheic lake is to prevent untreated human waste from flowing into that lake's waters, then build latrines, build a community-level treatment plant.

As Mr. MacLennan writes:
"Whether you are an advocate for people, fish or both – fresh, clean waters must be restored in Lake Miragoâne. Due to its impoverishment, the local community depends too much on the lake to ignore it once waste has washed in. Drinking water comes from the lake. Laundry is washed in the lake. Gourds filled with water and even freshly laundered clothes carry bacteria into people’s homes."
His colleague researcher Mike Smith adds:
"...species conservation and alleviating human misery are not only compatible, they are the same."
The links between safe drinking water for people, sanitation facilities for human waste, and biodiversity conservation haven't been fully explored on the ground. Philosophically, there is little challenge: it is easy to agree at a high level that environmental sustainability initiatives should account for the impact of and on homo sapiens, and it is easy to agree that initiatives providing safe water and sanitation for humans should be implemented in a fashion that impacts positively on the environment. The trick is on the ground - what happens when you have a country manager of a safe drinking water organization who is paid to get water to people, and the country manager of an environmental organization who is paid to protect frogs and trees, and neither is incentivized to broaden the scope of his/her already-challenging work?

The Haitian lake is a good example of where this is playing out on the ground. Daryl Hannah's work with gorillas in Africa is another interesting example. Many groups are undertaking payment for ecosystems services programs. A lot of progress in the right direction, and a lot of creative opportunities still to be explored.

Friday, March 20, 2009

World Water Day events from PSI

Megan Wilson at PSI sent us a great list of DC-based events on and around World Water Day, March 22, 2009.

PS. To learn more, check out PSI's WWD 09 website at

Wednesday March 25th, 1:30‐2:45pm;

"Let Clean Waters Flow": U.S. Leadership and Innovation in Addressing the Global Water Crisis

Room 121, Cannon House Office Building

Introduced by Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D‐OR), this PSI‐sponsored World Water Day briefing will be moderated by Global Health Council and feature Anick Supplice of PSI/Haiti, and other speakers from Save the Children and Earth Day Network.

RSVP to Shushanna Mignott at smignott [at] or 202-833-5900 ext 3214.


Tuesday March 31st, 10‐11am;

Water: A Strategic “Smart Power” Tool‐‐ Bipartisan Congressional Water Caucus

Rayburn Gold Room 2168, Rayburn House Office Building

This Caucus event will feature PSI’s own Dr. Krishna Jafa, as well as Dr. Greg Allgood of P&G and other prominent speakers.

RSVP to chall [at]


Tuesday March 31st, 12:30‐1:30pm

Safe Drinking Water: How One Company Makes a Difference in the Developing World

JHU SAIS Kenney Auditorium, Nitze Building, 1740 Massachusetts Ave. NW

Featuring Dr. Greg Allgood, director of P&G’s Children’s Safe Drinking Water Program.

RSVP to 202.663.5626 or saisevents [at]

For more information, reach out to Megan directly at:

Megan Wilson
Tel: (202) 785-0072
mwilson [at]

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Natural Resources Defense Council blogs on safe drinking water

Just want to quickly point out that Melanie Nakagawa of NRDC has a great post today on "Investing in Clean Water Brings Economic Benefits and So Much More."

Q: Should we cut back on investing in global drinking water and sanitation during the downturn?

A: "Now is the time to be investing in achieving access to safe water and sanitation because of the multiple benefits clean water provides for our economy and society...Every $1 invested in water and sanitation can yield economic benefits on average between $7 and $12. By taking into account the debilitating aspect of water-related diseases, time spent walking miles to get water, child mortality and drop out rates from school (often from girls who lack access to sanitary facilities after reaching puberty), the report highlighted additional benefits from investing in improving access to water and sanitation..."

Melanie goes on to discuss additional healthcare savings, productivity increases and time savings associated with safe water, and highlights the just-introduced "Water for the World Act" as well.
Love the close: "Therefore, with the right mix of political support plus financial investment in access to safe water and sanitation for those most in need, we have the opportunity to see mulitiple benefits, not only to the economy but for our planet."

The contribution that safe drinking water and sanitation for people make to the environmental sustainability sector is significant, and it's refreshing to see NRDC blazing a path forward on this important linkage.