The Challenge

Access to energy, clean drinking water and sanitation are the foundation of a healthy, productive life. Yet more than 12 million Filipinos live without access to electricity, 8 million live without access to clean water and over 25 million lack access to sanitation facilities. Because of the lack of sanitation infrastructure, 58% of the groundwater is contaminated by raw sewerage. Contaminated water harbors bacteria which causes harmful viruses to proliferate, causing acute diarrhea, the 4th leading cause of death among children under five. In 2014 alone, half the country’s population (46,305,000 people) reported suffering from one or multiple cases of diarrhea. Repeated diarrhea can lead to malnutrition and negatively impact child development, and is the cause of death of 4,200 people annually. Additionally, the 1,047 mountainous islands that make up the Philippines make infrastructure development of grid-connected electricity problematic and expensive. Thus, the majority of households have no access to electricity and those with access frequently experience blackouts that impact economic productivity. Compounding this lack of basic infrastructure, climate change, increased severity of storms, and rising sea levels also threaten this island nation.

Our Approach

Green Empowerment has been working with rural communities in the Philippines since 2001. Over the years our involvement has blossomed into productive relationships with non-governmental organizations (NGOs), SIBAT, YAMOG, and AIDFI, on three islands, serving dozens of villages. We work with our partners to provide the tools and support necessary for individuals to live a healthy life and support their family financially.

Green Empowerment is also partnering with the private sector to enhance the livelihood of community members. By linking our projects to business enterprises, such as power for a lemongrass oil distiller, energy for a grain mill, and light that allows women to weave at night, we are providing a basic service, renewable energy, and providing the tools necessary for long term economic development for the region.

In August 2012, Green Empowerment and its partners in the Philippines received a $1.4 million grant from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to deliver simple, affordable clean drinking water technology to 24,000 people in remote areas of Zambale, Leyte, and conflict-affected regions of Mindanao by 2017. This program, the Building Climate Resilience in Water Stressed Communities (CREST), utilizes a community-based, participatory approach to deliver safe drinking water via hydraulic ram pumps and other innovative water and sanitation technologies that do not require electricity, ensuring long-term sustainability and resilience in the face of climate change. The project is led by an interdisciplinary team of NGOs specializing in water and sanitation appropriate technologies and training.


2018 Highlights

  • We worked with local health officials to build a community water system in Barangay Maligue, bringing clean water to over 1,000 indigenous peoples in conflict-affected Mindanao.

  • In September of 2017, our Building Climate Resilience in Water-Stressed Communities (CREST) project was successfully completed.

  • Through CREST, we installed water pumping, storage and piping systems that reached over 40,000 people in 41 poverty-stricken villages.

  • We provided 19,682 residents with access to improved sanitation, trained 2,573 residents on sanitation and hygiene and 700 technicians on water system construction, operation and maintenance.

News from the Philippines

SDG 17 – Partnerships for the Goals: Bringing Global Goals to the Last Mile

By Green Empowerment Communications | June 8, 2021 |

Together with local in-country partners, Green Empowerment brings sustainable development to the last mile. The UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 17 Partnership for Goals strengthens the means of implementation and revitalizes the global partnership for sustainable development. As a U.S. based organization with access to resources, Green Empowerment considers it our duty to share these…

Bringing Clean Water to Maligue

By Green Empowerment | December 6, 2018 |

Written by Elsa Frey, Green Empowerment Program Manager Green Empowerment is currently in the midst of a project to provide clean, potable water and hygiene and environmental education to improve the health and resilience of approximately 1,000 residents of Maligue, a small village on Basilan Island in the conflict-affected region of Mindanao, the Philippines.Access to…

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