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Making a Difference: Global Water Challenge Shares Success and Progress

By:  Monica Ellis, CEO of GWC Jul 23, 2014
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School children

GWC has helped early 500,000 children gain access to clean water and sanitation.

Around the world, developed and developing markets are facing increasing water challenges. The facts paint a grim picture: 443 million school days are lost due to water-related illnesses every year. One in nine people do not have access to safe, clean drinking water. Less than one percent of the world’s water is fresh and accessible. For millions of women worldwide, collecting water is a full-time job. At Global Water Challenge (GWC), we are working to face these problems and to bring universal access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH).

Founded in 2006 as a coalition of leading companies and NGOs dedicated to solving our world’s most pressing water challenges, GWC forms partnerships that are sustainable, replicable and scalable in some of the world’s fastest-growing regions. Early supporters of GWC include The Coca-Cola Company, Cargill, The Dow Chemical Company and leading civil society partners. Through our innovative public-private partnerships, we have reached nearly one million people with clean water access.

GWC is making a difference by focusing its efforts in the following areas:

School children at a water fountain
  • WASH in Schools: GWC works with its members to promote WASH in schools programs that help keep kids in schools and healthy. GWC has helped early 500,000 children gain access to clean water and sanitation.

  • Sustainability: Recognizing that nearly 30 percent of all WASH projects fail prematurely, GWC has led efforts to increase lasting impact. GWC works with its partners to promote learning and help ensure that investments result in lasting services through SustainableWASH.org, a dynamic hub for the sustainability conversation.

  • Women: GWC addresses water challenges that disproportionately affect women through the Women for Water campaign, an initiative to empower women around the world through water access.

  • Strategic Consulting: Water is a vital component of many industries, but increasing pressures such as growing populations and warming temperatures pose a threat to water and increase risks to business l. GWC advises leading corporations and Fortune 100 companies with the support in water strategy development, water risk identification, best practices and water stewardship efforts. 

By inspiring public-private sector collaboration and innovative work, our efforts were recently recognized as a 2014 recipient of the C.K. Prahalad Award for Global Sustainability Leadership at the Corporate Eco Forum. Created in 2010, The C.K. Prahalad Award honors the vision and life’s work of the late Dr. C.K. Prahalad, one of the world’s most influential business strategists. Near the end of his illustrious career, Dr. Prahalad focused his enormous talent on the link between sustainability and long-term business success.

GWC Board Co-Chair William K. Reilly accepts the 2014 C.K. Prahalad Award on behalf of Global Water Challenge at the Corporate Eco Forum.

GWC Board Co-Chair William K. Reilly accepts the 2014 C.K. Prahalad Award on behalf of Global Water Challenge at the Corporate Eco Forum.


The C.K. Prahalad Award recognizes exceptional, globally significant actions by companies, individuals, and collaborations that exemplify the fundamental connection between sustainability, innovation and long-term business success in a globalizing world. We were honored for our progress in motivating companies and other donors to protect water resources, deliver clean water access and provide sanitation while sparking social and economic development in areas that need it most.

The C.K. Prahalad Award is a testament to the momentous work GWC is doing in the water sector. We look forward to continuing to work with best-in-class partners and expanding our impact in regions that need it most.

About Monica Ellis

As CEO of GWC since 2010, Monica Ellis has helped form numerous partnerships that have sparked change in developing markets around the world and provide WASH services for thousands.  Active in the sustainability arena for more than 20 years, Ms. Ellis has worked throughout the world on global natural resource issues, with particular attention to the clean water and energy sectors.  Her passion is helping communities in the developing world gain access to WASH and, ultimately, greater opportunity. Ms. Ellis has overseen the creation and management of numerous organizations and partnerships dedicated to providing clean water and sanitation.