Clean water is essential to good health but is in short supply in many developing countries. The World Health Organization estimates that one in ten people around the world lack access to clean water and one in four lack access to safe drinking water in their homes. This shortage contributes to almost 500,000 deaths per year. Insufficient water is particularly challenging for women, who often assume the time-consuming task of collecting the family’s clean water supply and are unable to work for pay outside the home.

Solution and Impact

DFC financing is helping WaterEquity, a nonprofit impact investor, provide loans to microfinance lenders to help communities in Asia, Africa, and the Western Hemisphere invest in water and sanitation solutions. By mobilizing significant private investment, WaterEquity has financed more than 543,000 loans that have helped nearly three million people across nine developing countries access safe water or sanitation in their homes and communities by installing toilets, septic tanks, or connections to piped water. DFC’s financing will support additional lending through 2026 aiming to bring access to water or sanitation solutions to millions more low-income families around the world.

In addition to expanding access to essential water and sanitation, WaterEquity boosts financial inclusion by encouraging microfinance lending in communities that have limited access to credit, and promotes gender equality with 97 percent of the loans supported by WaterEquity benefiting women.