image by Sun StarOn World Water Day last week, the Conrad Hilton Foundation announced a pledge of $50 million to address the water needs of more than one million people in sub-Saharan Africa and water stressed areas of India and Mexico. The pledge of $50 million over five years will deliver access to sustainable safe water, increase advocacy, and expand knowledge on global water best practices.

14% of the world population — over 900 million people — do not have access to adequate clean water, while 38% lives without basic sanitation.

In a speech on World Water Day, Steven Hilton, President and CEO of the Hilton Foundation, said that by building appropriate water systems, training people, and supporting water treatment research,”the programs we are funding will employ innovative technologies to scale up safe water provision, and foster partnerships to share knowledge and support advocacy.”

Hilton pointed out that thanks to the Foundation’s water program over the past two decades, more than two million people have been provided with safe drinking water. Access to adequate clean water has improved the quality of their health, education, livelihoods and overall well being. Moreover, thousands of women and girls are freed from spending their days carrying water, with girls able to go to school and women able to start small businesses or work on the family farm, he reported.

“For us, every day is World Water Day and our goal is to help bring about a world where every person has clean and safe water,” concluded Hilton.

Grants have thus far gone to:

* WaterAid America, and World Vision to build sustainable safe water sources in the West African countries of Burkina Faso, Ghana, Mali and Niger and to educate communities on sanitation and hygiene;
* CREPA (Centre Regional pour l’Eau Potable et l’Assainissement/ African Regional Centre for Water and Sanitation) to assess the functionality of 2,000 existing wells funded by the Hilton Foundation and to develop long-term sustainability guidelines for current and future projects;
* for a comprehensive communication and advocacy program;
* Pacific Institute for Studies in Development, Environment and Security to implement the Water for the Poor program that provides West African WASH practioners, community members, NGOs, local governments and donor organizations with accessible information and tools on appropriate and available technologies and solutions; and
* The Foundation Center to build a web-based platform that will serve as a central hub for information on the global water crisis aimed at attracting more donors to participate in sustainable global water projects.

RELATED: Hilton Group Donates $13 Million to End Homelessness in L.A.

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