Akvo means "water" in Esperanto, the international language. It felt like a good name. Seven of us started Akvo as a tech foundation that summer and returned to Stockholm World Water Week to tell the world we were something new -- an internet startup that could transform international development and help fix global poverty.
An estimated 2.5 billion people around the world lack access to working sanitation facilities and the statistics continue to soar every day. The knee-jerk reaction by humanitarian organizations has been to build free toilets for households and communities, and while this may offer some reprieve, it's a little like trying to drain the ocean with a teaspoon.
Philanthropy wants to change the world: make it a better place, protect the environment, create social equality, end hunger, stop conflict. Here at Water For People, we want to ensure that people around the world have safe drinking water and a decent place to poop -- not just temporarily, but for generations to come.
At this time of year when we look inward and explore ideas of what it means to sacrifice, we are particularly reminded of Isaiah in anticipating Easter and spring rains, reflection and renewal. We find ourselves looking outward at the sacrifices millions of women make for something we take for granted everyday: a safe glass of water and a toilet.