The Millennium Water Alliance Convenes and Influences Governments, the Private Sector, and Non-Governmental Organizations to Accelerate Global Progress in Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene

 

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History

Beginnings 

At the 2002 World Summit for Sustainable Development, then-Secretary of State Colin Powell announced the U.S. commitment to the global 2015 Sustainable Development Goals. One goal was to reduce by half the number of people without access to safe and affordable drinking water and sanitation by the year 2015.

Later, that global goal for safe drinking water access was met two years ahead of schedule, according to the Joint Monitoring Program, although progress varied widely from country to country, and the global sanitation goal fell far short. To play a role to help reach this MDG goal (and beyond), in 2003 the leading US-based non-governmental organizations working in water and sanitation formed the Millennium Water Alliance (MWA) as a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization to offer sustainable solutions through advocacy, shared knowledge, and collaborative programming.

 

Board Growth and Staff

Under the chairmanship of co-founder Malcolm S. Morris of Houston, Texas, and with leading roles played by Peter Lochery (CARE), Dennis Warner (CRS), and others, MWA began creating consortium field programs in which member NGOs bring their strengths on effective approaches for efficiency and long-term impact. Our major collaborative field programs to date have operated in Ethiopia, Kenya, and in six countries in Latin America (see our Programs pages on the website for more information).

 

Until 2007, MWA was largely operated by the Board members – representatives of the member NGOs – with the help of consultants and member NGO staffs. The growth of the consortium programs and the need for collective advocacy inspired the Board to hire its first full-time executive director in 2007, and in June 2010, the Board hired a professional policy advocate to establish the first MWA headquarters office in Washington, DC.

Later that year, MWA added a professional field program director and a senior accountant to the staff. Since then, MWA has grown further, adding full-time staff and consultants in the US and abroad. (See our website Staff page for current listing.)

Mr. Morris served as Chairman of the Board until November 2019.

Building Influence for WASH

MWA has become a leading voice in the global WASH sector, and in particular, in US advocacy for more US government investment in global WASH. MWA was one of the key leaders in the drafting and passage of the 2005 Sen. Paul Simon Water for the Poor Act, and the 2014 Sen. Paul Simon Water for the World Act. MWA pays an ongoing central role in advocacy on annual Congressional appropriations (often with significant increases) for USAID WASH programming. MWA also serves as a US voice for civil society in the Sanitation and Water for All initiative, and in other development forums in the US  and abroad.

As of December 2020, MWA had eleven NGOs as full members (represented on the Board of Directors), eight NGOs as affiliate members, and one private sector company as the first business member of the Alliance. All members have their headquarters in the US, except for IRC-WASH (The Netherlands), HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation (Switzerland), and Acacia Water (The Netherlands). All members must share in the mission and standards adopted by MWA, and demonstrate their commitment to water and sanitation programs that embody the values of transparency, accountability, efficiency, and cultural sensitivity in all their work.

 

Revised January 2021