Inspiring Action Around Clean Water



Today, there are 650 million people in the world who lack access to safe water and more than 2.5 billion people who do not have piped water services in their home.

To solve global social and environmental problems, the United Nations unanimously committed to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) in 2015. SDG #6 is to ensure universal access to sustainable water and sanitation services by 2030. That’s an amazing goal, and a lot of groups have gotten involved in a number of ways, some more successful than others.


Over the past several decades, aid agencies and governments have supported the construction of water and sanitation infrastructure primarily through heavily subsidized aid. This traditional development approach succeeded in expanding water and sanitation infrastructure, but there are limitations to reliance on aid-based approaches. To put it simply, grant-based support is typically unsustainable because it involves one-time infrastructure development (like building a well) without training on maintenance (so things break down and again become unusable), and there isn’t enough aid available to solve the problem. Azure, a program developed by Catholic Relief Services, addresses this by bringing stakeholders together to create a system of ongoing technical support and accountability, while also leveraging those limited aid funds as an investment tool to actually raise more money for local water companies. So more support and more money = better odds of achieving clean water for all!


We worked with Azure to shore up their brand identity and their story, to simplify the (very, very technical) information for potential philanthropic investors, as well as local governments who can benefit from the program, and other water organizations they might partner with. This effort includes the development of fact sheets and presentations, but also storytelling that brings to life the conditions of living in an area without a secure water supply, and how Azure has worked with communities to achieve real benefit, sustainably, and affordably.


It’s one thing to talk about theory, and it’s another to meet the people who stand to benefit from this and realize we’re not so different. A rising tide lifts all boats!


To date, this project extends through El Salvador, and is beginning in Guatemala, several regions in Africa, and eventually, the goal is to expand throughout developing countries worldwide.