Matt Damon, cofounder of Water.org, addressed finance ministers from across the world at the Sanitation and Water for All (SWA) Finance Ministers’ Meeting at the 2017 IMF-World Bank Spring Meetings, urging the ministers to consider the full breadth of financing options to achieve the goal of providing safe and sustainable water and sanitation for all.
“While there are multiple approaches to solving the challenge of universal access, mobilizing capital is the most pressing and powerful solution,” he said. This solution lies by leveraging both top-down and bottom-up financing, through the intersection of the household level micro financing and macro level financing, he suggested. Damon also introduced WaterCredit, a successful innovation by Water.org, and outlined how this has worked to reach over five million people thus far. “WaterCredit has enabled households living at the base of the economic pyramid to take out 1.2 million small loans for a toilet or tap.” he said. “The loans have almost no defaults, with a global repayment rate of 99%.”
Encouraging the ministers to consider how access to water and sanitation can be income enabling, Damon recommended that this can prevent those in need from extreme healthcare costs due to the consumption of unsafe water. In his closing remarks, Damon proposed that this issue cannot be solved alone — “together we can solve the water and sanitation crisis by 2030”.