News / Health

Business School Prize Promotes Global Water Strategies

Former US President Bill Clinton, who created the Clinton Global Initiative, a development fund, praises all of the Hult competition finalists for offering practical solutions, and asks how they'll make it a reality, April 28, 2011
Former US President Bill Clinton, who created the Clinton Global Initiative, a development fund, praises all of the Hult competition finalists for offering practical solutions, and asks how they'll make it a reality, April 28, 2011

Multimedia

Peter Fedynsky

About one billion people on earth do not have access to adequate or clean water supplies. More people die each year of water-borne illnesses, such as dysentery and cholera, than are killed in wars. To address this humanitarian and public health crisis, one of New York’s leading business schools conducted an international student competition on ways to bring clean water to some of the world’s most impoverished places.

The Hult International Business School teamed up with Water.org, a non-governmental advocacy group, to challenge the world’s business students to find a way of bringing clean water to 100 million people in the next five years.

Teams from six universities, out of more than 1000 that applied, reached the competition’s final round in New York City. The winning team, Britain’s Cambridge University, noted in its presentation that among those at the very bottom of the global economic pyramid - the world’s poorest populations - cell phones are more common than toilets.

Team member Akanksha Hazari said, "We’re going to tie the ongoing and accelerating behavior of mobile phone usage at the bottom of the pyramid to something communities really care about:  water and sanitation infrastructure."

Hult’s $1-million prize to the Cambridge team should help that effort, as will support from Water.org and the Clinton Global Initiative, a development fund created by former U.S. President Bill Clinton.

Clinton praised all the Hult competition finalists for offering practical solutions. "The most important question of the 21st century," said the former president, "is 'How?'

"The reason we’re having a prize tonight, which is, whatever you propose to do and however you propose to do it, with whatever how much money you have; just exactly how are you going to do it? How are you going to turn your good intentions into real changes?"

Hazari explained. "Well first, we need to set up the infrastructure. And we’re going to do this by leveraging the existing water credit 2.0 platform, where women self-help groups take out water sanitation loans from microfinance institutions. They use these loans to build water and sanitation infrastructure through a local NGO partner."

Hazari says the second part involves partnering with local telecommunication companies by creating so-called "corporate loyalty" programs.  When residents use a cell phone, they earn points with their service provider. Those points translate into cash equivalents that are returned to the community to fund water sanitation projects.

Gary White, founder and executive director of Water.org, told VOA that philanthropy is important to this process, but it’s not enough.

"I think we need new types of capital coming into the space," he said. "There’s never going to be enough charity alone to do this, and charity solutions aren’t always scalable. So if we can leverage more commercial capital in this space that would be a great start."

Hult’s administrators and professors say the winning Cambridge University model shows how engaging the business community to address a serious social problem is a win-win situation. By channeling capital for water projects into poor communities, the telcom companies not only address this urgent human need, but they also expand their customer base and boost their profits.

You May Like

Multimedia Obama Defends Immigration Action

Obama says with his executive action on immigration, enforcement resources will be focused on 'felons, not families; criminals, not children' More

US-Led Airstrikes in Syria Kill Over 900: Monitoring Group

British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the toll includes more than 50 civilians, five of them women and eight of them children More

Report: Obama Broadens US Combat Role in Afghanistan

The New York Times says resident Barack Obama has signed a classified order extending the role of US troops in Afghanistan for another year More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid