Year to date, the Hilton Foundation has awarded $12.8 million in water and sanitation grants, but none were awarded to programs working outside of Africa. The round of grants in the first quarter went like this:
- $5 million over three years to the Millennium Water Alliance in support of its water access and capacity strengthening work in Ethiopia.
- $3 million over three years to the IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre in support of its water supply capacity building efforts in Ghana
Hilton continues to focus exclusively on Africa in its third quarter grantmaking (the foundation did not make any WASH grants in Q2), awarding $3.5 million over three years to WaterAid America in support of its safe water access work in Burkina Faso, Ghana, Mali, and Niger and giving Water.org a $1.3 million grant over three years to expand its Water Credit model in Ethiopia.
Hilton’s $3.5 million to WaterAid America will help to forward its work in water access, WASH advocacy, infrastructure repairs, and hygiene education projects. In Niger, WaterAid focuses its work on WASH advocacy and water security.
The foundation’s grant to Water Credit focuses on water access. However, it does so in the form of microcredit. Water.org’s Water Credit program offers small loans to impoverished populations throughout the developing world to help pay for water and sanitation services and equipment, like toilets. Hilton’s $1.3 million will help support the Water Credit program in Ethiopia.
The secondary benefit of the Water Credit program is that it works to empower women and their families. The general idea here is that women would spend a great deal of time out of their days collecting water. With the help of the Water Credit program, those water collecting hours are freed up. Women could then spend that time on other, more productive activities like furthering their educations or income generation.
Hilton’s Q1 and Q3 WASH grants strongly reflect the changes the foundation made to its water program in 2010. That year, Hilton critically reviewed its water-related grantmaking and decided that it needed to broaden its WASH giving horizons. The foundation acknowledged that its old focus of drilling wells and improving water quality was a bit too narrow to achieve the desired health outcomes it wanted to reach through its grantmaking, so access to water became a major funding issue.
Hilton initially said it planned to continue these efforts for five years, which means that its WASH giving could take a different turn in the very near future.