When we seek to meet basic human needs around the world, particularly those of women and girls, sanitation is a high-impact area where we can focus our efforts. In 2015, the Caterpillar Foundation continued our support of The Global Poverty Project (GPP) with an investment to support universal access to sanitation. The grant will help GPP advocate for policies around the world that enable entrepreneurship, especially for women, by removing barriers caused by poor and inequitable access to sanitation – such as places to hand wash or use the toilet – and lack of access to basic education. GPP estimates universal sanitation would improve the entrepreneurial potential of women by freeing up more than 200 million hours for women and girls each day, enabling them to achieve an education, have time for paid employment or to run their own small enterprises. Combined, these measures would return an estimated $220 billion to the global economy annually.
In 2015, the United Nations adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (The Global Goals), a series of 17 goals with 169 targets to be achieved by 2030. Included in these goals were two key aspects of our policy partnership with GPP: the recognition of the need to ensure access to adequate sanitation and hygiene for all, and a commitment to end open defecation, especially for women, girls and those in vulnerable situations. GPP will continue to work on other aspects of our sanitation-policy partnership, including securing a $10 million per year increase in Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) aid from the United States government, and urging four new governments or companies to allocate new, additional financial resources to sanitation efforts.