Dysfunctional water and sanitation infrastructure can be seen strewn all across the developing world. Wells, pumps, and toilets fall into disrepair and areas once pronounced “covered” are again confronted by problems resulting from a lack of clean drinking water and sanitation. This exacerbates the challenge of achieving the Millennium Development Goals for water and sanitation. In this audio interview, part of a Stanford Center for Social Innovation series on water, Water for People CEO Ned Breslin talks with Stanford MBA student Ashish Jhina about performance metrics, planning, and financing practices aimed at supporting a longer term vision for water and sanitation infrastructure. He stresses the importance of setting appropriate tariffs and of budgeting for inevitable operational and maintenance costs from the outset. He explains how new business models could catalyze local entrepreneurial involvement in sanitation thereby making efforts to improve sanitation coverage more successful and sustainable.
Edward D. (Ned) Breslin joined Water For People as its director of international programs in January 2006, and was appointed acting CEO in late 2008. The board hired him as chief executive officer on May 13, 2009. Ned was first introduced to the challenges of water supply when living in the Chalbi Desert of northern Kenya in 1987, linked to a Lutheran World Relief program through his university – St. Lawrence. He subsequently worked for a range of local and international water and sanitation sector NGOs in South Africa, Zimbabwe and Mozambique, including positions at the Mvula Trust and as country representative for WaterAid in Mozambique, before joining Water For People.