USAID, private Sector, and partners highlight innovations to addressing water and sanitation crisis

Manila, August 31, 2021 — The US Agency for International Development (USAID), in partnership with the Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation (PDRF), Manila Water, and Maynilad, hosted a virtual event last August 27 to tackle challenges and technological solutions in the water and sanitation sector, capping off the World Water Week.

More than 600 participants from various sectors attended the first installment of the Philippine Water Challenge (PhlWC) webinar series. The two-session webinar aimed to inspire innovators by sharing success stories of innovations and solutions employed to address the water crisis in the Philippines.

Included in the panel were Philippine Water Partnership Chairperson Chris Ilagan, UNICEF WASH Specialist Elmira Bacatan, Maynilad Practice Leader for Water Francisco Arellano, Waves for Water Country Director Jenica Dizon, Fluence Corporation Senior Product Manager Gilad Yogev, and Hiraya Water CEO Stephen Larcia.

“If we can change one thing to improve the lives of Filipinos, it would be to provide clean, potable water to every family. That one act will save lives and transform the destinies of many. That is why the Philippine Water Challenge is so important. One innovation is one way to change the future and lift people up,” said PDRF President Butch Meily.

Launched last July 29, the PhlWC is an annual competition that aims to identify innovative solutions that benefit water services providers and users, identify community demonstration projects, and promote cross-sectoral collaboration to address water and sanitation challenges.  Php 1,000,000-worth of partnership fund in cash, incubation support, and networking package await five (5) winning solutions by the end of the year.

“We believe in innovations as catalysts for change, especially homegrown ideas borne out of personal experiences living the challenges of inadequate water supply and sanitation services,” said USAID Safe Water Project Chief of Party Alma Porciuncula.

The PhlWC is sponsored by the Coca-Cola Foundation, the Embassy of Israel in the Philippines, Smart Communications, QBO, and IdeaSpace.

Registration for applicants is still open until September 30. To apply for the challenge, visit

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.