Cargill funds US$2.1m with Water.org to provide access to safe water and sanitation

The two-year grant will directly impact 300,000 people across Indonesia and the Philippines (Image: Water.org)

To help expand water access, US global food corporation Cargill has committed $2.1m in funding to Water.org, a global nonprofit focused on removing the financial barriers between people living in poverty and access to safe water.

This two-year grant project, running 1 Jan 2024-31 Dec 2025, will impact an estimated 300,000 individuals — about 75,000 households — by providing access to water and sanitation for people living in Indonesia and the Philippines via WaterCredit, a programme that enables small loans for water and sanitation solutions. The grant will also support collaboration with local utilities to improve water quality and service coverage for many more households.

Cargill’s aim is to improve access to safe water and sanitation for 500,000 people in priority communities by 2030. As a supporter of the WASH4Work COP27 business declaration for climate-resilient Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), Cargill addresses the shared water challenges of availability, quality and access to WASH around the world using an approach that is informed by local context.

“Because of our position as a connector of the food system, Cargill has the unique ability to develop holistic water solutions that drive impact-at-scale,” said Pilar Cruz, chief sustainability officer at Cargill. “Our partnership with Water.org will help drive solutions across Indonesia and the Philippines that can transform access to safe water and sanitation.”

“Partnerships like Cargill’s extend beyond the financial contribution with intentional dedication to driving change in the communities they are a part of,” said Gary White, CEO, Water.org. “Cargill’s support allows us to continue to scale and expand our efforts in Indonesia and the Philippines, unlocking opportunities for improved health, education, and economic empowerment.”

Impact in Indonesia and the Philippines

Indonesia has a population of 275 million, and nearly 192 million Indonesians lack access to safe water, while 14 million lack access to a safe toilet. Water.org is increasing access to water and sanitation for low-income households by building relationships with local financial institutions to bring families access to small loans, empowering them with the water and sanitation solutions.

Out of the Philippines population of 115 million people, nearly half lack access to safe water. More than a third of the population lack access to a safe toilet. Similarly, Water.org works with the country’s microfinance institutions, government stakeholders, and international nonprofits to empower the people with access to safe water and sanitation.

“Cargill’s commitment will allow us to extend beyond the immediate impact to foster collaboration with local utilities and enhance water quality and service coverage for families, shaping a more sustainable and equitable water future for South East Asia,” said Gay Santos, regional director, South East Asia, Water.org.

“As we continue to roll out various water initiatives in Asia-Pacific, we will deliver impact with purpose and partnership, while growing with the region by further building sustainable and resilient supply chains,” added Ross Hamou-Jennings, chair of Asia-Pacific, Cargill. “Our goal is not only to improve communities and environment sustainability but to also contribute to and uplift the communities across the region.”