For Immediate Release
Contact: John Oldfield
joldfield (at) washinitiative.org
WASH Advocacy Initiative Is Launched, and Celebrates International Women’s Day with a Call for Safe Water, Sanitation and Hygiene for All
March 8, 2011 (Washington, D.C.) – On International Women’s Day, the WASH Advocacy Initiative calls on U.S. policy makers, corporate and philanthropic leaders, and civic and faith communities to make the investments and create the policies necessary to end the global water and sanitation crisis, one that disproportionally affects the health, education, productivity and livelihoods of billions of women and girls around the world.
Launched in early 2011 and made possible by the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation and the Wallace Genetic Foundation, the WASH Advocacy Initiative is led by Water.org, CARE, Global Water Challenge, and Water For People. It supports a coalition of more than a dozen partner organizations all dedicated to the common goal of ending the global water and sanitation crisis. The Initiative raises awareness of the global WASH challenge, increases financial resources for proven, sustainable solutions, and gives everyone the opportunity to learn more and get engaged through www.washinitiative.org and http://www.waterday.org/.
“The water and sanitation crisis claims more lives through disease than any war claims through guns. This reality impacts the daily lives of billions and the economic productivity of countless countries around the world,” says Gary White, Chair of the WASH Advocacy Initiative and co-founder of Water.org. “I can think of no other investment in international development that is as strategic to our nation or as morally imperative as this.”
Today, every 20 seconds a child dies from a preventable waterborne disease. Access to safe water, basic sanitation, and hygiene is the foundation for providing sustainable health, education, poverty alleviation, environment and security for families and communities around the world. Each dollar invested in safe drinking water and sanitation provides an eight dollar (8:1) return on that investment in reduced healthcare costs and time savings. With improved access to safe water and sanitation, not only do families thrive with improved health, but women and girls who traditionally spend hours every day fetching unsafe water are able to devote their time to more productive, often income-producing, activities. In Kenya, girls are absent less in schools where handwashing is more prevalent and there is increased single gender toilet use. Water and sanitation facilities were built at a school in Nigeria, growing school attendance from 320 to 538 pupils.
“On International Women’s Day, there must be a clarion call to action to provide WASH to women and their families across the world and a global commitment to tackle today’s most grave and most solvable global health challenge,” says Kathy Baczko, Director of Global Partnerships at the WASH Advocacy Initiative. “Women in the United States and around the world need to mobilize their voices, votes, and financial resources for WASH on behalf of women and families in need.”
About the WASH Advocacy Initiative:
The WASH Advocacy Initiative (WAI) is a nonprofit advocacy effort in Washington DC entirely dedicated to helping solve the global safe drinking water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) challenge. Our mission is to increase awareness of the global WASH challenge and solutions, and to increase the amount and effectiveness of resources devoted to solving the problem around the developing world. WAI is supported by the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, the Wallace Genetic Foundation, and four organizations who have detailed staff persons to WAI: Water.org, CARE, Water For People, and Global Water Challenge.
About the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation:
The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation was created in 1944 by international business pioneer Conrad N. Hilton, who founded Hilton Hotels and left his fortune to help the world’s disadvantaged and vulnerable people. The Foundation currently conducts strategic initiatives in five priority areas: providing safe water, ending chronic homelessness, preventing substance abuse, caring for vulnerable children, and extending Conrad Hilton’s support for the work of Catholic Sisters. Following selection by an independent international jury, the Foundation annually awards the $1.5 million Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize to a nonprofit organization doing extraordinary work to reduce human suffering. From its inception, the Foundation has awarded nearly $940 million in grants, distributing more than $100 million in 2010. The Foundation’s current assets are approximately $2 billion. For more information, please visit http://www.hiltonfoundation.org/.