USAID and Private Sector Partners Launch Inaugural Philippine Water Challenge

(Clockwise from top left) NEDA Assistant Secretary Roderick Planta and USAID Acting Mission Director Sean Callahan witness the virtual Philippine Water Challenge launch event and MOU signing by USAID Safe Water Chief of Party Alma Porciuncula, Maynilad Water Services, Inc. Senior Assistant Vice President Roel Espiritu, Manila Water Company, Inc. Chief Operating Officer Abelardo Basilio, Manila Water Company, Inc. Group Director for Corporate Operations Group Arnold Jether Mortera, and PDRF President Rene “Butch” Meily.


Manila, July 29, 2021 — The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) partnered with the Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation (PDRF), Manila Water, and Maynilad to launch the inaugural Philippine Water Challenge (PhlWC), the first-ever platform to generate water and sanitation solutions in the country.  More than 700 participants from the water sector joined the virtual launch event.

The PhlWC will be an annual competition that aims to identify innovative solutions that benefit both water services providers and users, identify community demonstration projects, and promote cross-sectoral collaboration to address water and sanitation challenges.  Registration for applicants is now open via pdrf.org/philippinewaterchallenge until September 30. 

“USAID is proud to join the Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation, Maynilad Water Services, Inc., and the Manila Water Company as we continue working toward our shared goal of providing a water-secure future for all Filipinos,” said USAID Philippines Acting Mission Director Sean Callahan.

The state of water supply and sanitation in the Philippines remains a concern for the government.  Around 12 million Filipinos do not have access to safe drinking water, and almost 10 percent of the population does not have access to sewerage systems. 

Over the next two months, individuals and organizations can submit their solutions to address the Philippines’ water supply and sanitation challenges for a chance to win a cash prize, incubation support, and coaching from water and sanitation experts to enhance their solutions. 

National Economic and Development Authority Assistant Secretary Roderick Planta recognized the role of innovations and technologies in helping address the Philippines’ water challenges as part of its commitment to the UN Sustainable Development Goals targets of universal access to safe water supply and sanitation services by 2030. 

The PhlWC is also sponsored by the Coca-Cola Foundation, the Embassy of Israel in the Philippines, Smart Communications, IdeaSpace, and QBO—five key players in the water and innovation sectors.

This year, USAID is celebrating 60 years of partnership for development with the Philippines.  USAID taps the power of stakeholder-led innovations to provide safe water and sanitation services to the underserved and most vulnerable, while sustainably managing water resources.