By Christabel Arina
In a bid to improve access to adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene services in Africa, a Kenyan-based not-for-profit outfit has been awarded by the Africa Ministers’ Council on Water (AMCOW) for its smart solutions that have contributed to achieving large-scale improvements in sanitation and hygiene.
Water.org, a global non-profit organization based in Kenya, was announced winner in the category of Impact Award for its WaterCredit programs implemented in Kenya and Uganda, during the Fifth Africa Regional Conference on Sanitation (AfricaSan5) in Cape Town, South Africa.
The Impact Award honours initiatives that have contributed to achieving large-scale improvements in sanitation and hygiene by directly impacting on people in resource poor communities.
The organization offers a portfolio of smart solutions that breaks down the financial barriers between people living in poverty and access to safe water and sanitation. It uses market-driven financial solutions to transform lives and end the global water crisis.
Through its WaterCredit initiative, Water.org enables access to critical financing for household water and sanitation solutions for those living in poverty. They partner with local financial institutions by providing technical assistance, connections and small grants, where needed, so the financial institutions can provide small, affordable loans to people in need of water and sanitation at home. They also partner with water and sanitation providers to enhance their capacity to obtain financing and improve service delivery for their customers.
This initiative has facilitated over 750,000 Kenyans in rural and peri-urban areas to gain access to safe water and improved sanitation.  In Uganda, over 153,000 people have been reached through the program. The program is also implemented in Ethiopia, Ghana and Tanzania.
“With millions affected across the world, there is not a one-size-fits-all solution to the global water and sanitation crisis.  WaterCredit is market-driven.  We’ve created a pay-it-forward system that makes it possible to help more people in ways that will last.  Globally, we have already changed more than 17 million lives through our WaterCredit initiative,” says Anthony Githinji, senior programmes manager, Water.org.
AMCOW’s AfricaSan Awards are Africa’s foremost accolades to celebrate the outstanding efforts of individuals and institutions in improving access to adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene for all in the continent.  The fifth edition of the AMCOW AfricaSan Awards recognize outstanding efforts and achievements in sanitation and hygiene in Africa through Innovation, Inclusiveness and Impact.
AMCOW was formed in 2002 in Abuja Nigeria, to promote cooperation, security, social and economic development and poverty eradication among member states through the effective management of the continent’s water resources and provision of water supply services

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