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  • Awarded: 2011
  • Issue Areas: Clean Water · Health · Sanitation
  • Countries Served: USA · Bolivia · Ecuador · Honduras · India · Nicaragua · Peru · Rwanda · Uganda
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    About the Organization

    Water For People’s goal is simple: complete water coverage for every family, every school, and every clinic. When one person or one family has clean, accessible water, their lives are changed. But when entire regions and countries have water, the world is changed.

    Millions of people lack clean water and adequate sanitation facilities. Water for People is looking beyond toilets and wells and water pumps, and into the future. They talk to people to find out how they live and what they need to feel healthy, safe, empowered, and successful. They design solutions based on long-term needs.

    Water For People thinks about the long-term every step of the way. They want communities to be independent of ongoing foreign aid for their water. They build local capacity so that when something breaks, someone has the capacity to fix it.

    They also work closely with the private sector to ensure that ongoing service is provided. Water For People offers a model that others can take on to create a world where everyone has access to water and sanitation.

    Conventional humanitarian approaches to providing safe water and sanitation in the developing world often fail.

    WFP works with government and water agencies to develop systems that serve everyone, with management, coordination, revenues, and community involvement to keep them working.

    Ned Breslin's ambition is to help countries improve their quality of life by developing locally maintained, sustainable sources of drinking water.

    Water for People shifts the thinking of the water sector, moving toward universal coverage and durability.

    Ambition for Change

    Communities in developing countries improve their quality of life by developing locally maintained, sustainable sources of drinking water.

    Path to Scale

    Influence Existing Systems

    WFP will expand its direct work to additional districts, but its major impact will come from shifts in the thinking and approach of the water sector generally, moving toward universal coverage and durability.

    Ned Breslin joined Water For People as director of international programs in 2006 after spending more than 16 years in Africa, working for much of that time on the challenge of providing clean water. Three years later he was named CEO. His on-the-ground experience had convinced him that the organization needed to change its thinking about “beneficiaries” and take a bolder, market-based approach. WFP works with government and water agencies to develop systems that serve everyone, and have sound management, coordination, steady revenues, and community involvement to keep them working. WFP has deployed new monitoring technology to track the time of the Award, more than 300,000 people had gained access to clean drinking water in just the previous three years. During that time, WFP also worked with community leaders to install improved sanitation facilities benefiting more than 250,000 people. Four years after installation, 96 percent of WFP’s projects in Bolivia, Guatemala, Honduras, India, and Malawi were still functioning, an industry record. In May 2015, Ned left Water for People and is now an executive vice president at the Wounded Warrior Project.

    Impact & Accomplishments

    • Everyone Forever program, launched at Skoll World Forum 2011, highlights two districts, encompassing thousands of communities, where every family, school and clinic has water and sanitation (something never before achieved). Now helping nine countries build out national programs and finance based on these principles, potentially affecting more than 100 million people.
    • Strategic partnership announced in 2014 links purchase of TOMS brand coffee to provision of drinking water in developing countries.
    • Developed a mobile based app to improve monitoring (FLOW), introduced in 2010 and used in 17 countries to document working and failed water points.


    Kim LemmeSenior Manager of Sustainability, Water For People
    Luis M GarciaChief Financial Officer, Water For People
    Mark DueyLatin America Regional Manager, Water For People
    Nick BurnChief of Programs, Water For People
    Patrick HayesChief Development Officer, Water For People

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