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  • Writer's pictureNWPC South Bay

Dr Carmen Schaye NWPC South Bay President with Matt Damon at the 2024 Fulbright Association awards ceremony

J William Fulbright Prize for International Understanding jointly to Gary White and Matt Damon for co-founding and leading Water.org and WaterEquity.  Water solutions break down the financial barriers between people in need and access to safe water and sanitation -Creating global Women Entrepreneurs through clean water.




Matt Damon's water charity, Water.org, has made significant strides in addressing the global water crisis, and one of its key impacts is the empowerment of women and the promotion of women entrepreneurship. Founded by Matt Damon and Gary White in 2009, Water.org focuses on providing access to safe water and sanitation through innovative financial solutions like WaterCredit, which offers small loans to those in need.


Empowering Women Through Access to Clean Water

Access to clean water has a direct and profound effect on the lives of women and girls. In many developing countries, women and girls are primarily responsible for fetching water for their families. This daily task often involves long, arduous journeys that can take several hours, limiting their opportunities for education and employment. By providing access to safe water close to home, Water.org helps to free up this time, enabling women and girls to pursue education and work opportunities, thus fostering gender equality.


Enhancing Health and Well-being

Safe water and proper sanitation are crucial for health. Water.org's initiatives reduce the incidence of waterborne diseases, which disproportionately affect women and children. Healthier families mean that women spend less time caring for sick relatives and more time engaging in productive activities, including economic ventures. Improved health also translates to better school attendance and performance for girls.


Promoting Women Entrepreneurship

One of Water.org’s notable programs is WaterCredit, which has been particularly impactful in promoting women entrepreneurship. This program provides microloans to individuals and communities to build water and sanitation infrastructure, such as household water connections and toilets. Women often take these loans to start or expand small businesses that rely on water, such as agriculture, food vending, and textile dyeing.

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