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29 April 2004

Public-Private Partners to Spend $5 Million Globally for Safe Water

Safe Water Alliance will begin work in Haiti and Pakistan

USAID and various public and private partners have launched a collaboration that will work globally to ensure the safety of drinking water. The partnership was announced April 22 at a meeting of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development in New York.

Following is a release on the alliance:

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April 22, 2004

USAID and Partners Form a $5 Million Alliance for Safe Drinking Water

Safe Drinking Water Alliance Launched at the United Nations

NEW YORK -- A strategic public-private collaboration devoted to ensuring safe drinking water was officially launched today at the United Nations' Commission on Sustainable Development meeting in New York. The Safe Drinking Water Alliance will receive $1.4 million over the next 18 months from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) through the Global Development Alliance, an initiative to promote partnerships such as this in the developing world. USAID's financial contribution is leveraging substantial in-kind and financial contributions from Procter & Gamble (estimated at approximately $3.5 million), as well as technical and program support resources from other partners.

The Alliance is designed to develop innovative approaches for ensuring the safety of drinking water. USAID, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health/Center for Communication Programs (CCP), CARE, Population Services International (PSI), and Procter & Gamble joined forces to leverage their respective expertise and resources to better understand the behaviors and motivations for choosing particular technologies for treating household water, to share the knowledge gained and to identify opportunities for scaling up successful efforts to ensure safe drinking water.

"We are delighted to support the Safe Drinking Water Alliance to help make water safe in Haiti, Pakistan, and elsewhere," said Holly Wise, director of USAID's Global Development Alliance (GDA). "This unique public-private partnership pools resources to attack a problem responsible for the death of an estimated 5,000 children per day around the globe, and USAID is proud to be a contributing partner."

About 1.1 billion people around the globe lack access to an improved water source, and even for those who do, unsanitary handling and storage means household water for drinking and food preparation is often unsafe. Unsafe water, sanitation and hygiene practices cause the vast majority of diarrheal diseases, a leading killer of children under five that accounts for approximately 2 million child deaths every year. Water-borne infections such as cholera, typhoid fever, and dysentery also burden the public health system and impose significant economic losses.

Low-cost solutions can dramatically improve the quality of existing household water used for drinking and cooking. Procter & Gamble has developed a new product, PuR, which purifies water using technology that has been found to be effective in improving water quality and preventing disease at the household level in developing countries. Reductions of 30% to 50% in diarrheal disease have been documented using such point-of-use treatment approaches, with even higher reductions during epidemic water-borne disease outbreaks.

The Alliance will test the acceptance of P&G's water treatment product using different approaches tailored to country need. Using these technologies in combination with behavior change strategies will help ensure safe water practices are sustained at the household level over the long term.

The Alliance members belong to the International Network to Promote Household Water Treatment and Safe Storage, a global network of more than 20 organizations that recognizes the potential for using low-cost water quality interventions to reduce the risk of diarrhea disease and death. The Alliance will begin work in Pakistan, Haiti, and another to-be-determined country where an emergency limits access to safe drinking water.

A commercial market approach will be implemented in Pakistan to leverage the technology innovation and distribution and marketing infrastructure of the private sector with the advocacy, education, and research efforts of collaborating groups to build awareness of the need to properly treat and store water. Specific activities will include the creation of a local Safe Drinking Water Council to build awareness of the causes and consequences of unsafe drinking water as well as building awareness of effective approaches to provide safe drinking water.

Hopkins' CCP will use behavior change communication combined with PSI's social marketing approach to provide safe drinking water in Haiti. This social model approach is more appropriate in countries where economic and infrastructure constraints limit the commercial model. The model involves the use of established social marketing distribution channels by non-profit organizations as well as a social network approach with local NGOs and Ministries of Health.

Emergency Relief
CARE will test and refine a package that can be easily and rapidly deployed in emergencies to ensure access to safe water for those affected. This approach will be used in a country soon to be determined. Tens of millions of people lack access to safe drinking water each year because of either natural disasters or armed conflicts that result in internally displaced people or refugee situations.

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USAID is an independent agency of the U.S. government that provides economic, development and humanitarian assistance around the world in support of the foreign policy goals of the United States. USAID has offices in Washington DC and in over 80 countries worldwide. The Global Development Alliance represents an important new business model for USAID. GDA mobilizes the ideas, efforts, and resources of governments, businesses, and civil society by forging public-private alliances to stimulate economic growth, develop businesses and workforces, address health and environmental issues, and expand access to education and technology. Responding to the fact that the majority of resource flows from the developed to the developing world is through private channels, not government, this approach extends USAID's reach and effectiveness in meeting development objectives by combining its strengths with the resources and capabilities of other prominent actors. USAID's Bureau for Global Health has made water quality improvement a key component of its environmental health agenda, working with the GDA as well as private sector commercial and non-profit partners and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. USAID's Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) provides humanitarian assistance to save lives, alleviate human suffering, and reduce the social and economic impact of natural and man-made disasters worldwide. http://www.usaid.gov/our_work/
USAID Press Contact:
Harry Edwards 202-712-5174 (hedwards@usaid.gov)

Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health's Center for Communication Programs (CCP) is a pioneer in the field of strategic, research-based communication for behavior change and health promotion that has helped transform the theory and practice of public health. www.jhuccp.org.
Johns Hopkins Press Contact:
Kim Martin 410-659-6140 (kmartin@jhuccp.org)

CARE is an independent humanitarian organization working to end world poverty. CARE's mission is to serve individuals and families in the poorest communities in the world. CARE provides emergency food and shelter to survivors of natural disasters, wars, and conflicts. CARE works with communities long after initial relief efforts are completed and supports initiatives to enable people to rebuild their lives and to face the future with renewed confidence. Whether supporting primary health care, promoting sustainable agriculture, or developing savings and loan schemes, the programs promote positive and lasting change and reduce long-term dependency. CARE has extensive experience with developmental and emergency water, sanitation, and hygiene promotion. CARE's contribution to this initiative will include experience gained from promoting hygiene in emergencies and from working with CDC in Madagascar and Kenya on household water treatment in both rural and urban settings. www.care.org
CARE Press Contact:
Lurma Rackley 404-681-2552 Ext 450 (lrackley@care.org)

Population Services International (PSI) Through its health social marketing programs in almost 70 countries on five continents, PSI distributes affordable, accessible, and attractive health products and services, and motivates other types of healthy behavior. PSI raises awareness of health problems and generates demand for the health products and services it provides through innovative and culturally sensitive communication. PSI works in HIV/AIDS prevention, family planning, malaria prevention, safe water, diarrhea prevention and management and micronutrient supplementation. www.psi.org
Population Services International Press Contact:
David Olson 202-785-0072 (dolson@psi.org.)

Procter & Gamble (P&G) is one of the largest consumer products companies in the world. The company has nearly 98,000 employees working in almost 80 countries worldwide. Two billion times a day, P&G brands touch the lives of people around the world. P&G provides technical, marketing, and research and development capabilities in relation to its new in-home water purification technology. The technology was developed in cooperation with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and has been shown to significantly reduce diarrheal illness in the developing world. More information about the technology can be found at www.pghsi.com.
Procter & Gamble Press Contact: Greg Allgood 513-884-0958 cell 513-983-1223 office allgood.gs@pg.com

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