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

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership 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.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid