Water For People


Water For People works across nine countries to bring safe water and sanitation services that last for generations.

As Chief Officer of Strategy and Scale, Nick Burn is the main architect of Water For People’s work in the field. Since 2010, he has been driving the results of WFP’s bold plan to give every school, clinic, and household in the areas where WFP works lasting access to safe water and sanitation.

WFP can only succeed when local stakeholders co-invest in the long-term solutions and systems that are right for them. Belying his humble leadership style, Nick not only brings expertise from his three decades of experience in international development, but excellence in strategy and execution, and a deep compassion for the communities in which he works. By modeling the qualities of humility and honor, he has created a culture of listening and respect at the field level. This has played no small part in winning the trust and critical support of the governments and community partners that are working hand-in-hand with WFP to build the systems and services to ensure that safe water and sanitation last for generations.

Multiplication in Bolivia

Water For People pioneered a demand driven model for delivering lasting water and sanitation called Everyone Forever. It is unique, as it hinges on getting buy-in from governments and local communities so that local stakeholders have skin in the game. In 2012, WFP reached a significant milestone – full coverage of water services in the Bolivian district of Cuchumuela.

Following this achievement, a dozen mayors declared their intention to replicate Everyone Forever in their districts. These districts would self-fund the implementation, but required technical support from WFP. Because the sudden surge of interest had outpaced fundraising, WFP was unprepared for this incredible opportunity.

Although the Chandler Foundation was midway through an existing grant with WFP, we quickly moved to fill the funding gap. By allocating US$ 3m at this opportune moment, we helped WFP to unlock at least US$ 15m of government co-financing. As a result, WFP was able to accelerate its work and build on local support. Our contribution directly served 250,000 people, and unlocked long-term safe water and sanitation for at least two million others.


“ We had built trust and momentum in the field, but if it were not for the Chandler Foundation gift we would have had to slow down and break some of our promises. The investment came at just the right time. A year ago we only had two areas where there was desire to replicate our work, now we have real potential to scale our work in five countries. For us in the field, this is game-changing. ”

Nick Burn

Chief Officer of Strategy and Scale, Water For People



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