Engaging Youth to Solve the Global Water Crisis for Schools Around the World

We engage youth to raise funds to implement WASH projects for global partner schools. Youth are empowered to become leaders of change.

Photo of Patty Hall
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I confirm that I am fully aware of the eligibility criteria, and based on its description, I am eligible to apply to the CSV Prize 2017.

  • Yes, I'm eligible

Preferred language

  • English

Organization name

H2O for Life

Year founded


Initiative stage

  • Scaling (the solution has passed the previous stages and is growing its impact on a regional or global scale)

Annual budget in 2017 (USD)

  • $500k - $1m

Number of beneficiaries impacted so far

  • More than 100,000

Organization type

  • Nonprofit, NGO, or citizen sector

Secondary Focus Area

  • Water

Headquarters location: Country

  • United States of America

Headquarters location: City

White Bear Lake, MN USA

Location(s) of impact

Impact in Schools across the United States (currently 37 states) Impact in Africa, Central America, India, and the Carribean



Facebook URL


Twitter URL


Problem: What problem is this initiative trying to address?

Women and girls bear the economic and educational costs associated with unsafe drinking water and poor sanitation. Girls miss hours of school collecting water for their families, and upon reaching puberty miss school if there is not an adequate latrine available. Each year, children lose 443 million school days because of water related illnesses, with 40% of diarrhea transmitted at school. Education is necessary for community development.

Solution Summary: What is the proposed solution? What do you see as its most promising aspects for creating shared value?

The UN Sustainable Development Goal #6-water and sanitation is a call to action for everyone on our planet to take action that will lead to a more sustainable world. We believe the global water crisis is solvable, and that youth must be part of the solution today! We engage donor schools in the US and worldwide, to partner with schools in developing countries and raise funds to support WASH implementation. Students develop global competency and empathy for others. Students at recipient schools receive life-changing facilities improving access to and effectiveness of education. Facilities encourage girls to stay in school and become better educated. For every 10 percent increase in female literacy, a country’s economy can also grow by 0.3 percent. Education is a human right and cannot be taken for granted. Students learning about one another will open doors to a more peaceful world.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Specify both the social and the environmental impact of your work

H2O for Life has raised awareness and inspired more than 500,000 US youth to learn about the global water crisis. These students have donated more than $3.3 million (matched to $6.6 impact) for implementation of water and sanitation. Students learn they can make a global difference through funding, and have learned that protection and conservation of water is essential for the future of our planet. Educating a generation of students who understand that they must be advocates and activists for our natural resources is important. Funding has provided access to clean water and sanitation for over 290,000 students in more than 900 partner schools. Studies at these schools have shown that WASH has increased school attendance, improved health, and girls enrollment has increased and girls attend school for more years. We all live in a global world, and education is key to our future.

Financial sustainability plan: How is this initiative financially supported? How will you ensure its financial sustainability long-term?

1-25% 2-40% 3-30% 4-3% 5-earned income 2% H2O for Life is supported by family foundations, corporate sponsors, individuals, earned income and a State of MN grant focused on curriculum development. We are adding an online store and are developing a more robust monthly sustainable donor program. We hope to increase our individual donations and rely less on grants in the future. A 10% fee from schools will grow as school #s increase.

Unique value proposition: What makes your initiative innovative? How does your project differ from other organizations working in the same field?

Engaging youth as leaders of change through global connections will lead to a more peaceful world.

Founding story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that sparked the beginning of this initiative.

After traveling to Kenya and creating friendships, I received a request from a friend who told me the children in his community were dying due to lack of access to water. I introduced this problem to my middle school students, and we formulated a plan to raise funds to help. After a successful year of fundraising, I visited the water project and returned with photos of the project for my students. This was the moment that the students realized their donations truly changed a community. It was powerful! H2O for Life's school to school partnerships educate youth about the compelling need for water and inspire youth to connect and take action to help students thousands of miles away. Youth are changing the world.

Where did you hear about the Nestlé Creating Shared Value Prize?

  • Nestlé page or contact
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Attachments (2)

Make it Matter, June story.pdf

A story printed in Reader's Digest launched H2O for Life nationally and globally. It is an overview of our service-learning program and what youth can do to change the world. To date, our schools have donated over $3.2 Million, providing water and sanitation for more than 290,000 students at partner schools. We are creating a generation of youth who care about others and know that through action they can be leaders for change.


Join the conversation:


Hello Patty, it's a pleasure to greet you and have found your initiative. I think it's a very good idea to work with young people to help other young people. We also believe that the key to changing the future of our children is partly in education. As you mention it because of the lack of water, you must change your school to help your family. Our initiative is from Oaxaca, Mexico and we would love to have more communication with you so that together we can feed the ideas, my email is mitzitapia.25@gmail.com. Greetings.

Photo of Didas Mzirai

Congratulations for the great impact that you have achieved. This is awesome! It's wonderful how you mobilize help from students from one part of the world, to help other students in some other parts of the world. Please see if you can also foster personal connections and online exchanges between the student donors and the student beneficiaries. Kudos!

Photo of Patty Hall

H2O for Life is changing lives for students who take the challenge to learn about the global water crisis and take both local and global actions to conserve and protect our water resources. As one student stated, H2O for Life believes in the power of youth to be world changemakers. We are providing funding to provide water and sanitation for schools around the world which provides infrastructure at schools that change educational possibilities for youth. We are also changing the lives of US students who realize that taking action leads to meaningful impact. We are educating the next generation of global citizens. @contribution