IBM has announced the launch of the next cohort of the IBM Sustainability Accelerator, which will focus on water management solutions.
The program will use IBM technologies such as hybrid cloud and artificial intelligence, along with an ecosystem of experts, to enhance and scale projects that aim to improve access to safe drinking water, reduce water pollution, increase water-use efficiency, protect and restore water-related ecosystems, increase sanitation management, and reduce the number of people suffering from water scarcity.
Non-profit and government initiatives focused on water management can submit proposals until the end of May 2023.
The World Health Organization reports that over 2 billion people live in water-stressed countries, and this challenge is expected to worsen in some regions due to climate change and population growth.
In Africa, 418 million people lack a basic level of drinking water service, 779 million lack basic sanitation services, and 839 million lack basic hygiene services, according to UNICEF.
In Kenya, 28 million people lack access to safe water, and 41 million lack access to improved sanitation. These numbers have been exacerbated by the adverse effects of climate change, with over 90 percent of water sources drying up in some areas in recent months.
The RFP process will consider the applicant’s capacity and readiness to support vulnerable communities, technical feasibility and sustainability of the solution, and transparency on measurement and reporting.
The selection process will include input from IBM and representatives from organizations such as Water.org and the United Nations Development Programme. The selected participants will be announced in November 2023.
IBM Africa Growth Markets General Manager, Julia Carvalho, stated that with recent developments threatening the future of millions, addressing the water crisis becomes even more urgent by the day.
The RFP process will provide an opportunity for non-profit and government initiatives to make an impact with the help of IBM’s technology, expertise, and network across its large ecosystem of partners.
Ben Mandell, a Utility Services Expert at Water.org, said that innovation in the water management space is key for meeting UN SDG 6, and initiatives selected to participate in the IBM Sustainability Accelerator will have a significant opportunity to make an impact.