How OPIC helped one Houston nonprofit expand access to clean water in Africa
OPIC travels to Houston this week, where it will host its latest Expanding Horizons workshop for small businesses interested in expanding into developing countries. Houston is also the site of one of OPIC’s early impact investing projects, Living Water International, which used OPIC financing 15 years ago to help some remote communities in Ghana and Kenya drill wells to secure a reliable water supply.
While every community on the planet has at least limited access to water, the location and the quality of the water can have a significant impact on the community’s quality of life and its ability to prosper.
When Living Water Chairman Emeritus Malcolm Morris and other founders of the faith-based group visited some remote communities in Africa during the 1990s, they observed how women were frequently spending the bulk of the day walking to collect water, carrying it home and then building fires so they could boil it before drinking.
“Every community that gets clean water gets more prosperous,” says Morris. “Women are not spending all day collecting water. They have more time and sometimes they establish small businesses creating jobs and income for other members of their community.”