WaterCredit: Bringing Microfinance to Water and Sanitation Sector
In 2004, the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation awarded more than $1 million to finance Water Partners International (Water.org) in its efforts to provide safe water and sanitation to the poor in developing countries. Water Partners International launched a pilot Water Credit Initiative which incorporated microfinance approach into water and sanitation projects. It is expected that participation in the project will also empower women and increase their involvement in community based projects. Currently Water Credit is offered in India, Bangladesh, Uganda and Kenya and the average loan size is $120. The project targets the poorest populations because they tend to pay the highest price for vended water and lack access to safe drinking water. Water Credit provides loans to finance household water and sewerage connections, toilets, sinks tube wells and water harvesting equipment.