On March 22, the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation will join the rest of the world in celebrating World Water Day.
On March 22, the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation will join the rest of the world in celebrating World Water Day. Every year since 1993, when the date was first devoted to water, we have joined efforts to focus attention on the critical importance of clean water to our planet’s health. It is a time of celebration, as we recognize and honor the work of our partners, but also a time to reflect on the condition of vulnerable individuals who lack access to safe water.
This year is particularly relevant to our work, as the United Nations has declared 2013 the International Year of Water Cooperation. Indeed, we need to cooperate if we are going to change the situation: more than 780 million people—about 11 percent of the world’s population—still lack access to improved sources of safe drinking water. Over 40 percent live in sub-Saharan Africa. Every day, nearly 3,000 children under five die from diarrheal disease caused by unsafe drinking water, inadequate sanitation and poor hygiene. We believe this is unacceptable.
For two decades, the Hilton Foundation has worked to improve the well-being of ultra-poor people in targeted developing countries by supporting sustainable access to safe water. A few months ago, we published and shared a report on our experiences: Providing Access to Safe Water: Lessons learned from two decades of philanthropic investment in the rural poor. We hope this overview continues to be helpful to current and potential funders.