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🗣️ "The Water Crisis & How to Make a Difference"

The School of Greatness

Photo by Matthew Waring / Unsplash

Host: Lewis Howes
Guests: Matt Damon & Gary White | Co- Founders | & WaterEquity
Category: 🗣️ Opinion | Water Crisis

Podcast’s Essential Bites:

[4:53] MD: “300,000 kids under the age of five will die this year because they lack access to safe water and sanitation. […] It's just mind blowing. But on the other side of it, there's this whole opportunity cost lost. What are these lives that we're not allowing to become what they could be? And that was something that really kind of pushed me into this work.”

[5:38] MD: “The water in our toilets is cleaner than the [water of] 800 million people [worldwide that don’t] have access to [clean water]. So it's something […] we take for granted. And yet, if you don't have access to it, […] it's the first thing you wake up thinking about, and your day is built around making sure that you can get.”

[8:04] GW: “The story of is how we've used the insights from the people we want to work with that experienced [the] problem [of lack of access to clean water], turn those insights into new ideas, and then pioneer things like WaterCredit, where we're looking at this from a perspective of getting people access to small loans. Because there's never gonna be enough charity in the world to get all those people water. We've got to use charity, philanthropy in a smarter way.

[9:26] GW: “I think what's different about us is looking at this from the perspective of the financial side of this and recognizing that there are a lot of people who are in such extreme poverty, they need that free well. They need that handout. But what we discovered is there's hundreds of millions of people, if not more than a billion, what they really need isn't just a handout. They know what water solution they want. […] And so it's empowering them to be able to procure the best solution that they want.

[11:25] MD: “Gary had this idea that if you took the concepts of microfinance, […] you could actually apply it to water. And it wasn't a traditional loan, because it wasn't an income generating loan, but it would be an income enhancing loan, because you'd actually be buying somebody's time back and they could work those extra hours. […] Our borrowers are 97% women, and these loans pay back at over 99%. […] Some of the poorest people in the world, if you just give them a chance, if you just nudge a market towards them, they will do the rest. And it's like we get out of the way and these people solve their own problems. […] This month we have hit 43.7 million people.

[14:45] GW: “It's been about $3.5 billion dollars in these loans that have been made around the world. […] The capital markets to come in and lend […] and that's why we created WaterEquity, which is a separate organization. It's an asset manager. So investors can come in and invest in WaterEquity, we use those funds to lend to these financial partners, and they break it into millions of micro loans. And when those loans get repaid, WaterEquity gets repaid. And so investors actually get a financial return on their investment.”

[32:08] GW: “We're going to reach 60 million [people] and beyond [by 2023] by combining and WaterEquity. […] We've raised $200 million in assets with WaterEquity that's being deployed, providing financial return and social impact. Our sights are set on a billion dollars of demand that we see where we can leverage these capital markets. […] If we can […] be the financial plumbing of connecting the global capital markets to women […] who need a $275 loan, that will then set this in motion and it will be self-sustaining.”

[38:40] GW: “It's a trillion dollar problem to be able to get access to safe sustainable water and sanitation to everyone in the world.”

Rating: 💧💧💧💧

🎙️ Full Episode: Apple | Spotify | Google
🕰️ 37 min | 🗓️ 04/01/2022
✅ Time saved: 35 min

Additional Links:
Book: “The Worth of Water: Our Story of Chasing Solutions to the World's Greatest Challenge” (Matt Damon & Gary White, 2022)