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

TEXT SIZE - +
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

Algerians Vote in Presidential Election

There were few media reports of protests and clashes around the country, but so far no significant violence More

Sharks More Evolved than Previously Thought

The discovery could “profoundly affect our understanding of evolutionary history” More

Pakistan Military Asked to Protect Polio Workers

Request comes as authorities say a Taliban ban on vaccinations in 2012 and deadly attacks on anti-polio teams have prevented thousands of children from getting inoculated 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.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid