Water Institute, Hilton Foundation unite to bring safe drinking water to those most in need

August 08, 2012
The Water Institute at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has been awarded a $1.5 million grant by the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, a nonprofit organization that works to improve the lives of disadvantaged people around the world. The institute will use the grant in liaison with the foundation and its grantees across the globe to improve strategies for making clean water accessible to those most in need.

Dr. Jamie Bartram

Dr. Jamie Bartram

“The goal of this partnership is to improve the well-being of the ultra-poor in targeted developing countries by supporting sustainable access to safe water,” said Jamie Bartram, PhD, director of the Water Institute at UNC’s Gillings School of Global Public Health. “This is a fantastic opportunity for us to work alongside the foundation and the projects they support to improve their strategy and ultimately make an impact on water projects across the globe.”

Through the partnership, the Water Institute will help foundation grantees develop internal monitoring systems by training them to use and report data on the performance and impact of their projects. The training will occur through face-to-face meetings as well as distance-learning programs pioneered at UNC. Representatives from the Water Institute will visit select water projects funded by the foundation to gather more details about the progress, successes and learning needs of each grantee.

With the aid of a virtual learning center, each grantee will receive a flexible, customized plan that will bring the foundation, grantees and other stakeholders together for learning, feedback, quality improvement and practice discussions. In addition to delivering distance learning, the virtual learning center aims to keep grantees up to date on new developments about the partnership.

“Central to the foundation’s Safe Water Strategy is rigorous monitoring and evaluation to improve the overall effectiveness of our grant making by providing feedback to improve ongoing programming,” said Braimah Apambire, senior adviser for water, sanitation and hygiene at the foundation. “The University of North Carolina’s Water Institute has established itself as a leader in the water, sanitation and hygiene sector, with deep, substantive expertise, demonstrated experience in conducting complex evaluations, and the capacity to effectively aggregate and disseminate learnings and findings.”

The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation was created in 1944 by international business pioneer Conrad N. Hilton, who founded Hilton Hotels and left his fortune to help the world’s disadvantaged and vulnerable people. The foundation conducts strategic initiatives in six priority areas: providing safe water, ending chronic homelessness, preventing substance abuse, helping children affected by HIV/AIDS, supporting transition-age youth in foster care, and extending Conrad Hilton’s support for the work of Catholic Sisters.

The Water Institute at UNC, launched in 2010, aims to collaborate with individuals and institutions from diverse disciplines and sectors and empower them to solve the most critical global issues in water and health. The Institute’s annual October Water and Health Conference, co-presented with the Institute for the Environment, brings together more than 450 delegates from 30-plus countries to study drinking water supply, sanitation, hygiene and water resources in developing and developed countries.



UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health contact: Linda Kastleman, communications editor, (919) 966-8317 or linda_kastleman@unc.edu.