Matt Damon

Innovating with AWS will help us solve the world’s water crisis in our own lifetimes

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A new AWS-based learning management system will make it easier for Water.org to enable access to safe water to people living in poverty around the world.

Water is essential for life.

It’s considered so important to the creation and sustenance of life that few scientists entertain the possibility of life existing without it. Now consider that by 2025, half the Earth’s population is projected to live in water-stressed areas as a result of climate change, with low-income families bearing the greatest brunt of water scarcity. It is one reason why we are passionate about solving the world’s water crisis in our own lifetimes and why we co-founded Water.org.

A photo of Matt Damon and Gary White speaking with community members.
Matt Damon (left) and Gary White (adjacent to Damon) speaking with community members.

For 30 years, it’s been Water.org’s mission to make water safe, accessible, and affordable. As of today, Water.org has helped provide more than 52 million people in 11 countries with access to safe water and sanitation, as well as the hope, health, and opportunities safe water brings. However, greater action is still needed. To bring even more safe water to communities in need, Water.org works with partners like Amazon to accelerate innovation and further scale our impact.

That’s why we are excited today to announce that Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Water.org are embarking on a new collaboration that will bring the power of the cloud to Water.org’s work globally. Our organizations will work together to build a learning management system (LMS) on AWS that Water.org expects will increase loans disbursed, with the potential to reduce the cost per person reached by an estimated 10% or more, resulting in Water.org’s ability to bring water and sanitation services to a projected 5 million or more people over the next 10 years.

An infographic of water.org collaboration with AWS to help train microfinance lenders.

Water.org currently partners with 150 financial institutions in 11 countries to help them develop and offer loan products for financing water and sanitation projects. A major part of this work is training the financial institutions’ staff on how to present water and sanitation loans to their customers. The training Water.org provides is critical for financial institutions to successfully design, market, pilot, and scale water and sanitation loans. These affordable loans are offered to households and small and medium-sized enterprises, such as water service providers, so they can install piped water and sewerage connections, rainwater harvesting systems, water storage tanks, and toilets. Until now, our ability to rapidly grow our partner base was constrained by the amount of time and resources needed to train partners.

Once built, the new LMS will offer an online pathway to faster expansion of Water.org’s programs with greater consistency, efficiency, and adaptability. The learning platform will support flexible scheduling, the ability to design training courses for thousands of our partners’ staff members, and the capability to reach both large geographic areas and remote locations. By moving training to the cloud, Water.org can use data analytics to assess the effectiveness of training and refine content to improve partner staff performance. This will enable us to maintain knowledge levels, despite financial institutions’ staff turnover, with new staff having access to the latest training modules and existing staff having access to updates.

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AWS plays a critical role in supporting Water.org throughout the design, launch, and ongoing implementation of our LMS platform. The built-in scalability and data security of AWS will help us serve more people than ever before and give us the capacity to train more loan officers faster and at a lower cost than in-person training. With these innovations, we expect an increase in loans disbursed and our average cost per person reached to decrease.

A photo of women standing next to a water jug.

Our work with Amazon continues to be supported by the shared belief that solving the global water crisis is possible. Today’s announcement builds on an existing partnership that has already helped people living in poverty get lasting access to safe water and sanitation solutions at home, helping to build their resiliency to climate change. Since AWS first partnered with us in 2020, we have together helped reach 250,000 people with access to safe water or sanitation in India and Indonesia by helping communities finance water pipe connections and toilet installations in homes. In 2022, Amazon made a catalytic $10 million commitment to help Water.org stand up an initiative of water and climate solutions that will ensure safe water for 100 million people.

We are excited to continue down this path together, helping to provide access to safe water to the many millions of people who need it.

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