Today at the opening plenary of the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting, Water.org co-founders Matt Damon and Gary White announced the organization’s $2 million commitment to provide 50,000 people in Haiti with safe water and sanitation over the next three years. As part of the commitment, Water.org has also launched a social media campaign so that anyone can participate in meeting the water challenge in Haiti.

“The situation in Haiti is extreme – it’s the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and nearly half of its people don’t have access to clean water,” said Water.org Co-Founder Gary White. “Expanding Water.org’s programming to Haiti will help people break the cycle of disease and poverty.”

Water.org’s Haiti Commitment will reach beneficiaries with grant-driven programs while also exploring opportunities with microfinance institutions in Haiti under its WaterCredit Initiative. WaterCredit is a financial innovation that brings microfinance to the world’s poor who lack safe water and sanitation. It is the first comprehensive program of its kind to move beyond grant-driven charity and enables microfinance activity in the water and sanitation sector. WaterCredit leverages commercial capital and motivates microfinance institutions to launch loan portfolios to assist the poor who lack basic water and sanitation services.

The Haiti Challenge encourages visitors to fundraise and “friend-raise” for the cause through their online social networks. Getting a friend to really care about the water crisis is as important as asking for a donation. The Haiti Challenge website includes new technologies that leverage the most popular social media sites, making it quick and easy for people to invite their friends and followers to support the cause. Learn more about the Haiti Challenge and get involved at www.water.org.

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