USAID, stakeholders seek water and sanitation solutions

Published July 29, 2021, 3:51 PM

by Roy Mabasa

More than 700 participants from the water sector joined the virtual launch of the inaugural Philippine Water Challenge (PhlWC), the first-ever platform to generate water and sanitation solutions in the country.

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) partnered with the Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation (PDRF), Manila Water, and Maynilad to launch the PhlWC, an annual competition that aims to identify innovative solutions that benefit both water services providers and users, identify community demonstration projects, and promote cross-sectoral collaboration to address water and sanitation challenges.

“USAID is proud to join the Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation, Maynilad Water Services, Inc., and the Manila Water Company as we continue working toward our shared goal of providing a water-secure future for all Filipinos,” USAID Philippines Acting Mission Director Sean Callahan said in a statement released on Thursday, July 29, 2021.

The state of water supply and sanitation in the Philippines remains a concern for the government. To date, around 12 million Filipinos do not have access to safe drinking water while almost 10 percent of the population does not have access to sewerage systems.

Over the next two months, USAID said individuals and organizations can submit their solutions to address the Philippines’ water supply and sanitation challenges for a chance to win a cash prize, incubation support, and coaching from water and sanitation experts to enhance their solutions.

National Economic and Development Authority Assistant Secretary Roderick Planta acknowledged the role of innovations and technologies in helping to address the country’s water challenges as part of its commitment to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) targets of universal access to safe water supply and sanitation services by 2030.

Coca-Cola Foundation, the Embassy of Israel in the Philippines, Smart Communications, IdeaSpace, and QBO—five key players in the water and innovation sectors – are co-sponsoring the competition.

Coinciding with this program is this year’s 60th anniversary of USAID’s partnership for development with the Philippines. USAID taps the power of stakeholder-led innovations to provide safe water and sanitation services to the underserved and most vulnerable, while sustainably managing water resources.

Registration for applicants is now open via until September 30.