The ‘Worth of Water’

We can live for some months without food but can only last about three days without water. Even shorter depending on our health and weather conditions. We do not like brownouts but dread water shortage evenmore. In the Philippines, it is estimated that more than three million rely on unsafe water sources while seven million lack access to improved sanitation. Now what if you have no access to clean potable water?

Water.Org., in existence for 30 years in 11 countries, has reached 45 million, empowering women through innovative financial solutions to increase access to finance water and sanitation. Gay Santos, SE ASIA regional director of Water Org.,says “masakit sa balikat” (painful on the shoulders) is what it means not to have sustainable access to water especially to women and children.”

In celebration of World Water Day and Women’s Month, Water.org, an NGO co-founded by Hollywood actor Matt Damon and Water Engineer Gary White, convened public and private sectors in a dialogue on how to collaborate and address sustainable access to safe water and sanitation. The event aimed to introduce Water.org and its creative financial solutions to end the water crisis among the participating institutions. The “Worth of Water” book, authored by its founders was also launched.

The keynote speakers and reactors during the event were:

NEDA USEC Roderick Planta; Tri Dewi Virgiyanti, Director, Housing & Settlement, Indonesia; RCBC President Eugene Acevedo; RCBC Chief Innovation and Inclusion Officer Lito Villanueva; Aurelie Chardon, IFC Urban Infrastructure and Services; Cantilan Bank EVP Tanya Hotchkiss; and Risyana Sukarma, Water and Sanitation Specialist World Bank Indonesia

The participation of a very diverse group of stakeholders underscored the importance of water and sanitation. Among the attendees included multilaterals: Asian Development Bank, International Finance Corporation, World Bank Group, USAID Safe Water; financial institutions; government sector and other private institutions in Southeast Asia, National Economic Development Authority, Ministry of Planning and Development (Indonesia), PhilGuarantee, to name some.

Emphasized in the presentations of the partner financial institutions were the technical assistance and capacity building support provided by Water.org to implement WaterCredit that enabled them to collectively provide access to safe water and sanitation to millions of families in the three countries.

I asked Alice Cordero, Executive Director of Tulay Sa Pag-unlad Inc., a microfinance NGO, on TSPI’s experience with Water.org. TSPI’s partnership with Water.org., she said, started seven years ago. TSPI educates its clients on the importance of access to safe drinking water and clean toilets. Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) campaign was conducted among field personnel. WASH Advocates provided orientation and even facilitated WASH modules (with visual aid materials) during weekly group meetings for client awareness especially in far-flung areas. Water.org has been supportive to this promotion and marketing drive andaims to bring safe water and proper sanitation access among the poor households through financial/ technical assistance to microfinance institutions like TSPI. It also equips partners with information and best practices. Very good partnership between TSPI and Water.org. indeed.

It’s hard to grow old without good source of water. When we are gone, we can leave our children and grandchildren something of benefit, we can enjoy clean and safe water,” says Nanay Imelda Perlada, of Mulanay, Quezon. Ms. Alice said that “Nanay Imelda availed of a water connection line from her loan in TSPI last 2016, after listening to a seminar about the importance of safe and clean water. She is thankful that she, now, does not have to walk a kilometer, fall in line and wait for her turn to get water for their everyday use. One of TSPI’s social goals is to provide clients to have water-sealed toilets and access to safe water source with its WASH Loan under the Home Improvement and Sanitation Loan Program.“

Ms. Gay said that “water has no value, it has no one value; It has many values from household level to a country’s or world’s infrastructure. The challenge of water is multi-faceted – from the need for capacity development, empowering community and even the challenge of data. With the constraint in resources today, working together will make a difference in obtaining a sustainable solution for the water crisis and eliminate the pain on the shoulders of many women, children, and households. “

To appreciate the “worth of water”, just imagine yourself now having no access to clean water. Tubig! So,let’s count our blessings and conserve this precious water!

Big Congratulations to Bamboo Queen Kay Jimenez on the launching of her wonderful book” Recipes for Life-Hearty Servings for Joyful Living” a work of love by youngest daughter Carmen Jimenez Ong. Reading the stories in the book made me want to follow the recipes and have a joy filled life.

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Ms. Tarriela was the first Chairwoman of the Philippine National Bank. She is a former Undersecretary of Finance and the first Filipina vice-president of Citibank N.A. She is a trustee of FINEX, TSPI, and an Institute of Corporate Directors fellow.

A gardener and an environmentalist, she established Flor’s Garden in Antipolo, an ATI Accredited National Extension Service Provider and a DOT Accredited Agri Tourism site.

(The views expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the opinion of these institutions.)

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Credit belongs to : www.mb.com.ph

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