Water for All: How Well Is Philanthropy Tackling One of the World’s Biggest Challenges?

For most of us, water plays such an obvious role in our lives that we don’t give it a second thought. Whether we are drinking down a glass of ice-cool tap water on a hot summer day, or we are showering after an exhilarating gym workout, we use water so frequently that we don’t really think about how big a role it has in our day-to-day existence.

But imagine for a second being one of the billions of people out there who can’t grab a glass of water when they’re parched, or a young kid who does not have access to clean water when they want to bathe. Hard to imagine, right? But for many, this is reality. In fact, The World Health Organization estimates that are approximately 2.1 billion people spread across our beautiful planet who do not have ready access to safe water at home.

The World Health Organization indicates that this lack of access to clean water causes hundreds of thousands of young children to die from diseases and infections stemming from unsafe water consumption every year.

For these reasons, clean water access for all global citizens is one of the world’s biggest challenges as we inch closer to 2020. To learn how well philanthropists and charitable organizations are tackling one of the world’s biggest challenges, read on.

Changing Perspectives on Providing Clean Water

In the past, well-heeled philanthropists used to build as many wells in a particular area as possible. This approach, which relied on solving the water crisis from a “quantity is better” standpoint is becoming less popular today. Instead, charitable organizations are focusing more on the quality of their impact on an area that does not yet have safe drinking water.

John Oldfield, an executive at Global Water 2020, tells us that this changing in perspective has had a positive effect on getting clean water to people who don’t have it. According to Oldfield, grantmakers are moving away from questions like “How many wells can we buy for $150,000?” Instead, Oldfield says philanthropists are focusing on questions like, “What sort of lasting positive impact can we create with $150,000?”

Difficulties Still Persist in Providing Clean Water

Although charitable organizations indicate that they are moving closer to achieving clean water access for all, challenges still persist in this space. One challenge is that there are no “quick fixes” when it comes to solving the water crisis. This frustrates those philanthropists who want to solve the problem overnight.

No matter the challenges, folks like John Oldfield who are committed to providing clean water to all of the world’s citizens will continue to pursue their goal by focusing on the problem through a wide range of approaches.