Water plays an essential role throughout all aspects of life from hydration to hygiene. Yet, around the world, one in nine people don’t have access to safe water and one in three don’t have access to sanitation. Water, sanitation, and hygiene-related diseases are responsible for nearly 1.6 million deaths each year, including 297,000 children under the age of five. The global water and sanitation crisis disproportionately affects women and girls, who spend a combined 200 million hours collecting water each day preventing them from attending school or generating income. Developing countries often bear the brunt of this crisis, where lack of affordable financing is a key obstacle to accessing safe water and sanitation.
In this fireside chat, Gary White and Jacques Perold will discuss the value of access to safe water and sanitation for underserved communities and its multifold impact across health, gender equality, climate resilience, and economic security. As we’ll learn from examples shared throughout the event, water and sanitation access provides instant value creation that can be measured and monetized. Other interventions—like improved education or nutrition—can take years to reap direct, financial benefits for families living in poverty. Household access to safe water or sanitation generates positive outcomes overnight—where the value created drastically outweighs the cost to secure the connection.