Today, U.S. Representatives Kay Granger and Nita Lowey were honored for their strong support for U.S. programs that help solve the global safe drinking water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) crisis. The WASH Advocate award was given today to recognize the Congresswomen for their strong leadership in improving U.S. efforts to efficiently provide safe and affordable WASH to impoverished regions around the world.

“As Chair of the State and Foreign Operations Subcommittee, I am acutely aware of the positive impact these programs have had on the poorest in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, noted Rep. Granger. “I am not alone, however: across Texas, thousands of church groups, Rotary Club members and schoolchildren are working as I speak to help solve this global crisis once and for all.”

Rep. Lowey, who is Ranking member of the State and Foreign Operations Subcommittee and full Appropriations Committee, added, “WASH is important in its own right but in particular for its enormous positive impact on women throughout each stage of their life – from empowering girls to get an education, to providing wider job opportunities for women. This issue cuts across health, gender, and economics and its benefits cannot be overstated.”

Former Congressman Jim Walsh and president and CEO of InterAction Sam Worthington presented the WASH Advocate award. Both credited the bipartisan effort in supporting increases in water and sanitation funding year after year, helping drive the effort that led to FY14’s historic funding levels.

John Oldfield, CEO of WASH Advocates, noted, “We are honored to present these well-deserved awards. Our awardees work hard to save and improve the lives of millions of people through the provision of safe drinking water, sanitation, and hygiene across Africa, Asia, and Latin America. The 2014 WASH Advocate Awards honor their current leadership, and the WASH community looks forward to continuing to work together to save and improve millions more lives over the coming years.”

Every year, U.S. WASH programs bring better WASH access to millions of people across Africa, Asia, and Latin America. In FY11 and FY12, USAID provided almost 7 million people with improved access to drinking water supply, and almost 3 million with improved access to sanitation. This work is now supported and reinforced by USAID’s first-ever Water and Development Strategy, launched in October 2013.