Skoll Foundation


Water For People

Skoll Awardee(s): Ned Breslin
Award Year: 2011
Issue Area(s) Addressed: Health

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 “We are not going to hide behind the façade of demand to not hear the voices of the hardest to reach, the poorest and most vulnerable. If you listen very carefully, everyone is demanding clean water, forever. There are no beneficiaries here. These are active agents of change who want to spark a revolution.”

Sub-Issues: Clean Water, Sanitation

Conventional humanitarian approaches to providing safe water and sanitation in the developing world often fail. Systems are not adequate to reach everyone, and fall into disrepair after the aid teams are gone.

The Skoll Awardee: Ned Breslin joined Water For People as director of international programs in 2006 after spending more than 16 years in Africa, working for much of that time on the challenge of providing clean water. Three years later he was named CEO. His on-the-ground experience had convinced him that the organization needed to change its thinking about “beneficiaries” and take a bolder, market-based approach. WFP works with government and water agencies to develop systems that serve everyone, and have sound management, coordination, steady revenues, and community involvement to keep them working. WFP has deployed new monitoring technology to track the time of the Award, more than 300,000 people had gained access to clean drinking water in just the previous three years. During that time, WFP also worked with community leaders to install improved sanitation facilities benefiting more than 250,000 people. Four years after installation, 96 percent of WFP’s projects in Bolivia, Guatemala, Honduras, India, and Malawi were still functioning, an industry record. In May 2015, Ned left Water for People and is now an executive vice president at the Wounded Warrior Project.

Impact since joining the portfolio in 2011:

  • Everyone Forever program, launched at Skoll World Forum 2011, highlights two districts, encompassing thousands of communities, where every family, school and clinic has water and sanitation (something never before achieved). Now helping nine countries build out national programs and finance based on these principles, potentially affecting more than 100 million people.
  • Strategic partnership announced in 2014 links purchase of TOMS brand coffee to provision of drinking water in developing countries.
  • Developed a mobile based app to improve monitoring (FLOW), introduced in 2010 and used in 17 countries to document working and failed water points.


EVERYONE – Water For People from Water For People on Vimeo.


© 2015 Skoll Foundation.