San Francisco, January 14, 2009 - Blue Planet Run Foundation announced today the first funding of water and sanitation projects by one of its partners through its Peer Water Exchange (PWX). The Global Women’s Water Initiative (GWWI) used PWX to manage its funding of 15 projects. Created by Blue Planet Run, PWX is the only global online network devoted to connecting all organizations in the safe drinking water sector to foster knowledge sharing and collaboration on the selection, funding, management, and impact assessment of water and sanitation projects.
GWWI – an initiative coordinated by international organizations A Single Drop, Crabgrass, and Women’s Earth Alliance – equips local African women leaders with technology training, business skills, networking support, and seed funding to launch income-generating water service projects across Africa. GWWI chose the Peer Water Exchange platform on which to support project proposal development and manage the project reporting of 15 African women’s groups implementing customized water and sanitation solutions for their communities. The groups were introduced to PWX in June 2008 at the African Women and Water Conference, a five-day conference at Nobel Prize-winning Wangari Maathai's Greenbelt Movement training center.
Once back in their villages, one batch of these women’s groups were granted membership into PWX, which involved learning about social networking on the internet. They were mentored through numerous revisions of their project proposal to ensure the highest potential for success. Then in groups they were asked to submit their applications for projects and peer review each other’s. The projects were then funded. Said Melinda Kramer, Director of Women’s Earth Alliance, “We were thrilled to see our participants helping each other succeed by offering constructive feedback and first-hand experience. With PWX, groups were not alone when designing their project proposals. They were able to call upon a network of other women leaders who were embarking on the same path.”
“GWWI funded these projects via the Peer Water Exchange so that we could track project progress and impact,” said Gemma Bulos, Executive Director and Founder of A Single Drop. “Using PWX offered so many learning opportunities for our staff as well as the women. PWX gave us a context in which to see the similar challenges that their colleagues encounter and the different strategies that they implemented. It also gave us a streamlined reporting and networking mechanism to better track project progress. PWX not only enabled us to stay in close contact with the women’s groups we funded, but they now have a centralized node to keep in touch with each other. PWX ensures that the knowledge and experience gained is kept alive and available not only to our network, but for the greater PWX network and the pubic at large. Saving time and money, keeping connected through shared experiences, and supporting our women entrepreneurs made use of PWX an easy decision for us.”
The Peer Water Exchange is seeking to partner with other funding organizations interested in the most efficient way to identify, fund and manage high quality water and sanitation projects without having to invest in the staff and time to do it themselves. Existing water and sanitation organizations also may be interested in using the PWX platform as a new channel to identify and fund water and sanitation projects pre-vetted by a worldwide network of water experts. Rajesh Shah, creator and head of PWX, welcomes new funding partners. “There is an urgent need to scale funding to small water and sanitation projects around the world,” said Shah. “Working together on PWX, interested organizations are assured of finding high quality projects and a streamlined system where their approved projects can get into field implementation quickly. We also will work with any funding organization to ensure that all back-end reporting meets their needs.”
Blue Planet Run, via the Peer Water Exchange and its 47 expert water group partners, has funded 214 sustainable water projects in 18 countries, which have provided safe drinking water to well over 200,000 people in need. For information on Blue Planet Run, please visit www.blueplanetrun.org. For more information on the Peer Water Exchange and to find out about membership, please visit www.peerwater.org. To learn more about the Global Women’s Water Initiative, see www.africanwomenandwater.org.
Blue Planet Run is a registered trademark of the Blue Planet Run Foundation.