Directed by our founder to help those who are most in need, the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation has a long history of increasing access to safe water in regions of Africa, India, and Mexico. From early on, the Hilton Foundation has recognized the essential connection between water and life. We were among the first major funders in the U.S. to invest in a multi-faceted approach, acknowledging the seminal importance of safe water access and adequate sanitation and hygiene in improving the lives of vulnerable people. Over the past 20 years, we have awarded more than $114 million to provide access to safe water for more than 2 million people.

In 2010, the Hilton Foundation board of directors approved a new strategy for sustainable water access. This five-year strategy focuses on water access for impoverished and hard-to-reach populations, and has three main components: supporting sustainable access to safe water, strengthening the enabling environment for water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) interventions in target countries, and supporting the dissemination and adoption of relevant knowledge across the WASH sector.

We expect our programs to result in sustainable water access for at least one million additional people, increased funding to the sector, and enhanced knowledge and capacity of local communities to effectively implement and maintain water programs. We worked with Tanvi Nagpal, Ph.D., professional lecturer and student advisor at The Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University, with many years of international experience in water access, sanitation, hygiene, and philanthropy to create this report. We are grateful for her excellent work and recommendations, and we hope others working in the WASH sector will
find it a useful contribution to the knowledge, transparency, and collaboration of the entire field.