Case Foundation Invests in Water for Africa

The Case Foundation has provided funds to support a dramatic expansion of Water For People's programs, harnessing the power of local entrepreneurs to provide sustainable operations and maintenance support for a portfolio of community water solutions in Malawi, Rwanda, and Uganda.

The expansion efforts will be focused first in Malawi, then in Rwanda and Uganda, to stimulate and scale up innovative models using the local private sector’s capacity to provide on-going operation, maintenance and repair services for an array of community water technologies. This will include an expansion of the “circuit rider” program, where communities hire local entrepreneurs for effective operations and maintenance services that enhance water source sustainability.

As part of these efforts, PlayPumps International will be contributing its inventory of manufactured pumps, broadening the technology options to be offered to communities. The combined, new resources total roughly $2 million in funds, assets, and in-kind support, complementing almost $2 million of direct funding from Water For People’s program base in Africa.

“We and others in the water sector have become increasingly aware that bringing safe water to those who need it most requires new and innovative approaches to give communities a choice of solutions and to ensure truly sustainable supplies,” said Jean Case, chief executive officer of the Case Foundation. “These investments will allow Water For People to expand its offerings and leverage the power of the local private sector to end water poverty and transform lives.”

Successful safe water system implementation requires a vibrant private sector that can help ensure access to affordable and reliable services that keep systems operational, spare parts available, and technical support for challenges beyond the community’s capacity accessible -- all built around a sound understanding of water sector policies, practices, and strategies.

Within this framework, Water For People will use the resources to accelerate its programs around the following core elements:

  • Engagement of the private sector  A key goal of the program is to unleash the power of the local private sector as a resource for community development. Water For People will offer proven entrepreneurial approaches, training and capacity building of local private sector partners to service a market for the ongoing operation, maintenance, and repair of community water systems. The program will also demonstrate ways that the local private sector can play a key role in eradicating water poverty.
  • Deployment of safe water system technologies coupled with innovative operation and maintenance approaches  Rural villages will be offered a portfolio of safe water system technologies (e.g. hand pumps, rope pumps, PlayPumps, etc.) in order to “road test” opportunities for scale. Private sector approaches for operation and maintenance of these systems  a key element of sustainability -- will also be implemented. The emphasis will be on proven models, such as the use of local, independent contractors, or “circuit riders,” to service water infrastructure and ensure sustainable supply chains.
  • Long-Term Monitoring  Water For People is incorporating its long-term, 10-year community monitoring initiative into this program, utilizing the World Water Corps® volunteer program. World Water Corps volunteers will offer professional and technical support including mapping, baseline data for development, capacity building for local stakeholders, and monitoring and evaluation of past and current projects.

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