Landing : Athabascau University

Unit 6. Water Credits

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By Sydney Carroll January 21, 2024 - 2:32am

The movement that I feel challenges the social implications of capitalism and neoliberalism is This movement was funded by the knowledge that water scarcity is still prevalent in the global south and affects women disproportionately. In some areas like Sub-Saharan Africa 70% of water collection is done by women and girls. Even today, 663 million people do not have access to clean potable water and even more, a staggering 2.4 billion people have no indoor plumbing for toilets. When women spend the majority of their time collecting water, it drastically diminishes their likelihood of attending school or having employment (, 2003). 


The idea of is simple: offer small, interest free loans to families, called Water Credits, that allow them to purchase the plumbing and materials needed to have access to clean water inside their homes.These small loans have been paid back with a 98% success rate and the loan receivers are 90% women.  It’s estimated that homeowners in the global south pay at least 25% of their income for water from vendors, who may be selling unclean water or possibly run out in the span of a day. Currently, banks in the developing world do not offer loans for water and sanitization, making it nearly impossible for families living off an average of $6 a day to make any changes (Lifewater, 2017). 


By empowering women and children to find solutions and help them achieve water sovereignty. They are able to become engaged members of society and can spend the majority of their day focused on growing and making a difference. has been able to help 60 million people in 17 countries find water sovereignty (, 2003). 


image Stories of Impact. (, 2003)


It's inspiring to see a company like Water.Org that has a closed loop system, once loans are repaid, the women can choose to pass the loan on to a loved one and the repayments go back into the microfinance loans who in turn become available to another family in need.

Having read many of the stories from women around the world who have been impacted by Water Credits, the one that stood out to me is the story of Phoebe. Phoebe, a Kenyan woman used to walk miles everyday to a small unsanitary pond where she collected water for herself and her nine children. Now that  Phoebe decided to invest in Water Credits, she has clean water beside her home, saving her time and energy and getting her to work on time each day (, 2003). 


image Stories of Impact. Phoebe, Kenya. (, 2003)


I believe the obstacles that stop from growing from its full potential is the slow growth that it has achieved. I think the wrong investors, only concerned with making profits, would think this project is too small. But I wouldn’t want to see a grassroots organization such as this start to concern itself over shareholders and profits. However,  if the wealthy 1% of the world was able to come up with $150 billion dollars a year, millions of people would not be lost to curable water-born illnesses (Hares, 2017). Water security and higher rates of survival would inject the global economy with an additional $260 billion dollars a year in revenue. It would pay itself back immediately for the world's wealthiest to invest in Water Credits (, 2003). I think and the founders know that when women and girls are empowered, we can all profit from their ability to participate in society. Not to say that being water keepers isn’t an important role, but that it's often overlooked and devalued by the rest of society. 


On a broader scale, this organization helps to dismantle the idea that we should be solely concerned with our own wellbeing. I think that helping others to achieve their full potential creates a better society for underrepresented groups who, with water sovereignty, can become the next generation of leaders, teachers, and thinkers. Neoliberalism only works when we are divisive and are concerned how we can better ourselves because there isn’t enough for everyone. Realizing that we should all have access to the same human rights, like water, means acknowledging that I am no more deserving than Phoebe and it is just by sheer luck of the country I was born into, that I have been afforded privileges beyond the opportunities Phoebe has had. Despite these innate challenges, women like Phoebe persevere and work to overcome the systems of oppression that have overlooked her abilities to contribute. When we invest in Phoebe, we also invest in ourselves.  


Hares, S. (2017, August 28). The cost of clean water: $150 billion a year, says World Bank. Reuters. Retrieved January 21, 2024, from

Lifewater. (2017, April 26). Matt Damon Water Project: Using Market Tools To Fund Safe Water. Lifewater International. Retrieved January 21, 2024, from (2003). Water Crisis - Learn About The Global Water Crisis. Retrieved January 21, 2024, from