Behind the Glamour, a Sobering Water Crisis

"2 billion people, one in four, live without access to clean water, with women and girls spending 200 million hours every day walking miles for it."

New York Fashion Week features cutting-edge clothing against a backdrop of glitz and glamor. But behind the scenes, millions of women and girls walk miles daily to secure basic water needs. The contrast between catwalks in the spotlight and walks for water in the shadows inspired the Runway for Water campaign.

This powerful initiative from Water for People aimed to grab attention and underscore the urgency of the global water crisis. As Katherine Williford, Chief Growth Officer, shares in this episode with host Ravi Kurani, the campaign video spotlights Indian women fetching water while dressed in traditional outfits, overlaid with fashion show music. This stark juxtaposition highlights an often overlooked yet critical factor undermining basic rights, health, and advancement worldwide.

Beyond the creative concept, Williford explains Water for People’s innovative model to drive progress on universal access through collaboration, monitoring, and adaptation. With substantial funding gaps persisting, Runway for Water also calls more influential voices to advocate around this human rights issue impacting billions daily.

What you’ll hear in this episode:

  • The Runway for Water Campaign: Learn about the eye-opening campaign connecting fashion and lack of water access.
  • Water for People's Model: Understand Water for People's "Everyone Forever" approach to sustainable water services.
  • The Walk for Water: Grasp the contrast between fashion shows and women's long walks for water daily.
  • Collaboration for Access: Discover why cross-sector collaboration is key to achieving universal access.
  • Monitoring and Adaptation: Appreciate the importance of monitoring programs and adapting approaches.
  • Addressing Investment Gaps: Realize the critical need for increased funding and political commitments to the water crisis.
  • Water as Opportunity: Recognize how securing water access unlocks potential for women and girls worldwide.

Listen On:

Watch the interview:

Meet Katherine

Katherine's passion for global development took root early on through volunteer work in Honduras. Witnessing the impacts of limited healthcare and water access inspired her commitment to poverty alleviation. She has since dedicated her career to the water sector, directing fundraising and communications for Water for People.

With over 15 years of experience in the nonprofit world, Katherine now leads growth efforts for Water for People across nine countries. She oversees strategic initiatives like the high-impact Runway for Water campaign. Beyond installing infrastructure, Katherine emphasizes that Water for People focuses on system strengthening and local partnership for lasting solutions.

Though aware of the substantial challenges ahead, Katherine remains motivated by the belief that secure water access can uplift families and unlock potential worldwide. Her story highlights that creating real change requires working at all levels, from grassroots to leadership.

The Book, Movie, or Show

In our quest to discover the literary influences shaping our guests' visions, one title stand out in Katherine's repertoire.

Dare to Lead by Brené Brown has deeply influenced Katherine's leadership approach. This guide on courageous leadership aligns with Katherine’s focus on vulnerable storytelling and relationship building to drive change.

Brown pushes leaders to leverage empathy, embrace candor, and speak honestly to motivate teams. These principles of authenticity resonate with Katherine’s emphasis on sharing community stories to expand Water for People’s impact.

Moreover, the book highlights that influencing stakeholders across sectors demands confronting hard truths through a lens of shared values. Katherine aspires to apply this advice in coordinating the diverse partnerships progress requires. Overall, Dare to Lead captures Katherine’s vision to lead boldly and bring more voices into solving the global water crisis.

Contains affiliate Amazon links.


Katherine Williford
We're nowhere near. We're not on track. We've got 2 billion people living without access to clean water. That's one in four people still living without access to clean water. And in terms of people's time, that's largely women and girls who are spending 200 million hour every day walking miles for water. We believe every single person, everyone deserves access to water, and that water should be sustainable, so it should last forever.

Ravi Kurani
Welcome to liquid Assets, where we talk about the intersection of policy, management and business, all as it relates to the world of water. Today, we have an awesome guest for you from water for people.

Katherine Williford
Hi, my name is Katherine Williford. I'm the chief growth officer at Water for people. Water for people works across nine countries to end water poverty.

Ravi Kurani
Katherine, how are you doing today?

Katherine Williford
I'm good. How are you, Ravi?

Ravi Kurani
I am doing good. Just kind of nursing a little cold. So apologies to the audience if you hear a little bit of a stuffy nose, but, yeah, other than that, everything's going great.

Katherine Williford

Ravi Kurani
Before we hit the record button, were talking about the urgency of it all. Just going to say that. Let's just jump into that. What do you mean? The urgency of what? What are you talking about?

Katherine Williford
Yeah, so the sustainable development goals were set back in 2015. And in terms of water, that means reaching universal access by 2030. We're nowhere near. We're not on track. We've got 2 billion people living without access to clean water. And, yeah, we've got a long way to go, and we're seeing that investments across philanthropy, government, business are just not keeping up with the need, and people's lives are at stake.

Ravi Kurani
Let's kind of jump into the sdgs really quick. What does universal access by 2030 actually mean? Does that mean that everybody has access to. Is it like so many cups of water per day? Let's just kind of dig into that. What does that actually mean?

Katherine Williford
Yeah, so it's know a certain distance that you do or do not have to walk for water and about the quality and consistency of that water. So, of course, here in the United states, for us, that means turning on a tap in our home. But in Malawi, that might mean walking to a community tap stand and being able to know that the water will flow every time you access it.

Ravi Kurani
Yeah. And the water obviously needs to be clean, too. Right. You can actually go and you'd have to walk to go get the water, but then obviously, you don't want to be drinking dirty water even when you get there. How far are we? Right. They said that we should have universal access by 2030 or say that we're really far. How far exactly is that?

Katherine Williford
We've got 2 billion people to go. So 2 billion people, that's one in four people still living without access to clean water. And in terms of people's time, I mean, that's largely women and girls who are spending 200 million hour every day walking miles for water.

Ravi Kurani
That's such a staggering number. 25% of the world's population still doesn't have access.

Katherine Williford
I should double-check the world's population, but I think that's right, yeah.

Ravi Kurani
Between eight and 9 billion people and over 200 million hour are spent per year. And the problem per day. And the problem is that once they go and they usually have to walk to get to water, we don't have this kind of flush and forget sort of mentality that even when they get there, the water sometimes is not clean. And I've heard the staggering statistic that actually the largest killer in the world is diarrhea and dysentery from dirty water. And so even if we do provide water, a lot of it's also not clean.

Katherine Williford
Yes, that's exactly right. And often people are walking three, 4 miles to get to a spring that is more consistently clean, but all it takes is one time. Also, lack of access to safe bathrooms leads to, of course, poor sanitation, and you're more likely to have unclean water in those circumstances. And so it just compounds on itself.

Ravi Kurani
Yeah. And so let's kind of jump into your work, because I think that's a perfect segue for what you do. How does you and your organization solve this? And if you can kind of just go a little bit into explaining what you do, you've been there for about four years. I won't kind of spill the beans because I'd love for you to explain it.

Katherine Williford
Yeah. So I work at water for people, and I lead our fundraising and communications efforts. It's our program colleagues around the world who do the really important stuff, water for people had a real time of reckoning in about 2008, 2000 that we looked around and saw that after millions of dollars invested by ourselves, but also by other ngos and governments around the world, a huge percentage of pumps and pipes and wells were sitting littered across different countries, just broken, not functional. And so there was this recognition that were only doing maybe a quarter of the job by installing infrastructure in communities that were lacking access, that really what we needed to put in place for the systems around operation and maintenance, proper financing, good water policy. And that meant being there for the long term.

Katherine Williford
And that meant making sure that the people in place doing this work were local. So we started what we call the everyone forever model, which means we believe every single person, everyone deserves access to water, and that water should be sustainable, so it should last forever. We now work across nine countries in about 40 districts, have reached about 5 million people, partnering with government, local entrepreneurs, small business, community leaders to put in place these systems. And again, not just the infrastructure system, but all of those kind of surrounding mechanisms that we take for granted that allow water to continue flowing. And now, recognizing the enormity of the problem, we're working on partnering with national governments and subnational groups to try and scale this work to reach more than 200 million people by 2030.

Ravi Kurani
Wow, that's awesome. And so right now, the big gap is from getting started, 5 million to how many million are you looking to capture?

Katherine Williford
Yes. So we've reached about 5 million people at the local level. And we think through national system strengthening, that we can again, through a systems change, system strengthening, collective impact approach, reach 200 million people, 100 million.

Ravi Kurani
That's amazing. And just to kind of backtrack and unpack back to first principles, thinking of what's actually happened, right. If I heard you say this correctly, we came in earlier and there was pumps and wells and pipes and infrastructure that was given through, I think, what could be called early 19 hundreds philanthropy of, we're just going to go ahead and throw a bunch of equipment out there and people will figure out how to use it. We shortly figured out that everything's kind of scattered around and not being used. And if you then double click into kind of what gets people to actually make sure that they're maintaining that they're using things properly around the kind of policies that you guys built, how does that work? What does that look like tactically, outside of working with governments?

Ravi Kurani
Do you find people in the local cities, as you just mentioned? Is there like a training? Are these people part of water for people? What is the actual infrastructure look like?

Katherine Williford
Yeah. So one of the cool things that struck me when I joined water for people and visited with our program in Bolivia is that it's often difficult to tell who is a water for people employee and who is a local district employee. And so typically, if we've committed to working in a district, we're staying there for a long time, typically at least ten years, and we're setting shared targets and goals in partnership with local government. And so then we're doing an assessment and seeing what are all of the gaps, what are the things that we bring to the table? What are the resources that the government can bring to the table? Are there other ngos in the area, donors, any kinds of local partners and stakeholders do that kind of baseline assessment and then kind of get to work.

Katherine Williford
Every year we employ a monitoring approach and see how much progress did we make, what worked, what didn't work, and again with three core goals, which is reaching every household, every school and clinic and every community in that district with clean, flowing, sustainable water. And so it sounds simple, but committing ourselves to just measuring, is this working? And looking back at the indicators, sharing that transparently with all of the other stakeholders and making an agreement to make whatever adjustments and investments we need to make the following year has been very effective.

Ravi Kurani
Super cool. And when you kind of go in and you make sure that you hit these three pillars of every house, every school, every community as you're going out there and you're working with the folks, that could be water for people. People or in the local government, just to kind of make it easier for the layperson. If I was to make analog to a city government in the US, right. You guys would go into Phoenix, let's just name a city and Phoenix will have the city water. Would you work with the Phoenix mayor at that point in time and say, hey, look, you guys have a water problem. We're going to work with your water board and we're going to come in and put in these water for people, individuals that are funded by us, and we'll help you work with policies.

Ravi Kurani
How does that work in this kind of phoenix example?

Katherine Williford
Yeah, I love that example. So mayors are really important partners and stakeholders in this for us. Often when we're going into a rural community in Bolivia, there's not a utility, there's not an equivalent to Phoenix water, there's nothing there. So a big part of what we do in that first year is actually create what we call a district wash office. So help the government set up. What does this kind of function need to look like? What kind of skills do we need to hire for? Who do we put into place? And then once we've created that district wash office again, which is owned wholly by the government, we can start providing technical assistance, co investing on infrastructure investment, all of those pieces. But yeah, it's a really good point that even things we take for granted, like a utility, don't exist yet.

Katherine Williford
And so that's a lot of what we work to help put in place, too.

Ravi Kurani
That kind of actually raises another question of as you help kind of build this, I'm going to put in quotes, utility. Right. Because it's kind of co owned with the government. What are our payment models? One of the actual conversations we had earlier on the podcast was around water not being properly monetized. Right. The value of water is kind of less than it should be. Is there digital finance? How does that work when you do set up this sort of infrastructure for the government to also recoup an ROI on this infrastructure investment?

Katherine Williford
Yes. So I'm not an expert in this area, but it is something that continues to be a challenge. And in some of the countries where we work, it's not only the kind of underpricing of water, it's also that water is human. Right. There shouldn't be a price on water, might be a community belief.

Katherine Williford
And so a lot of work is put into pricing out like, okay, then fine, we paid for the service associated with that water and have created some tools ourselves and in partnership with IRC Wash, which is another NGO in the space to help ourselves and governments understand not only what was the cost of this might be a little jargony, but installing this infrastructure, but what's the cost over 20 years to repair, maintain it, replace it, and trying to build all of those pieces into what we consider the price of water to be?

Katherine Williford
The other thing that we work really hard at in various contexts is blending different financial models so that in rural areas where it's very expensive to get water to, and probably it will always be cost prohibitive that we're working with larger entities in the country to help set tariffs in the city that might subsidize water in the rural area, for example.

Ravi Kurani
Got it. And what kind of comes to mind, too, especially in working with local governments, is just this jurisdictional approach will always have various, I mean, you have a large diversity of needs wants, you have different corporations that may have agricultural offerings that are taking up a lot of water. What does that look like when you come in and kind of survey a region or a district or a jurisdiction? Because from going up to 200 million people, obviously you're tackling a lot of small fragmentation in a lot of different places that speak a lot of different languages, a lot of different cultures. What does that kind of look like?

Katherine Williford
Yeah, for us, it's just all about bringing those different stakeholders to the table. So if we're operating, we more frequently than not are operating in rural context. So agriculture is a big factor in a lot of places where we're working, and we'll partner with landholders to come up with some sort of dynamic arrangement where, let's say, the whole community agrees we're going to each put in a small amount of funding to fund this water system. It might be that an agricultural landholder says, I'll donate the land for this, or I'll share the land for this. Again, trying as best we can to put in place kind of win models, because, as you said, everyone benefits from water access, but it is unequally.

Ravi Kurani
Yeah, yeah. I always like to figure out kind of what makes our guests tick. Why do you do this, Katherine?

Katherine Williford
Really passionate about ending poverty. Really spent time in Honduras when I was much younger, seeing the impact of malnutrition, lack of access to water, lack of access to health care, and just how deeply it hurts people and stifles all of our ability to grow. And so really passionate specifically about the way in which water for people unlocks the potential of families, communities, countries, and hopefully leads to a more just world in the end.

Ravi Kurani
Awesome. And I always like to kind of go back one more step. I know the story is never straight, but if you look kind of hindsight 2020, is there a through line in when you were at home or you're being raised, that you were just kind of like, oh, this particular thing actually impacted me in this way to now get into what I do today. Is there anything that comes to mind?

Katherine Williford
Yes. I was a teenager. I went on a community service trip to Honduras with my classmates, and I realized that I was really stressed about some things that were pretty silly in the context of the poverty that I was seeing in real time. And so know, took a year off, did a gap year, moved to Honduras, continued volunteering with that nonprofit, and then have been working in various nonprofits ever.

Ravi Kurani
Yeah, totally makes sense. Storytelling actually comes up a lot in the podcast, and the fact that water really has a messaging problem with you being where you're at. And if you were to kind of talk about that, what do you think is a manifesto? I guess you agree that the problem in water is obviously a messaging a problem, but what solutions do you think there are if were to just brainstorm, live here?

Katherine Williford
I think it was that specific trip. Right. And then specific for fundraising and communications was kind of recognizing early in my career that even as I wanted to be the person that was really good at solving these problems, I was actually better at talking about them and sharing the passion with others. I mean, if we had solved them, we would be really much further along than we are. So I think one of the problems is that people thinking of water access. Think of it as really far away. That's a problem over there. Another problem is that we'll have some donors think it's solvable or it's not something for me to step in and work on. And there's a lot of competition, right, with other causes. Health, vaccines, education, climate justice. It's not a competition. All of these things are really important.

Katherine Williford
But we find that because water is a need day in and day out, and we take it for granted, if we're living here in the US, that it becomes kind of taken for granted in the philanthropic conversation as well. Not to mention, I mean, it's really interesting to learn all of the conversations in business around water usage and water scarcity and climate change. I think that maybe I'm just coming up with problems, but I think that's one of the biggest problems. As I go to conferences or talk to different partners about water, we're not even speaking the same language to ourselves. Those of us working in water and sanitation and health are always talking about it a certain way. I go to a conference where businesses are meeting about this.

Katherine Williford
They're talking about volumetric accounting, they're talking about all of these other things, social co benefits, which I imagine we can find a through line, too. But even amongst ourselves, we've really become hyper focused through our own lens. And so then it's no surprise that the general public is like, well, this sounds like ten topics, not one topic. So I would say I don't have the solution yet, but I was excited. Our Runway for water campaign was just kind of one attempt to break through and kind of bring the need and the cause to new audiences in a new way. And it'll take a lot more of that from all of us to really break through.

Ravi Kurani
And what's the Runway and Water campaign?

Katherine Williford
Yes, so the Runway for Water campaign is a campaign that water for people launched earlier this month, aligning with New York Fashion Week. And so we filmed several community members in Chikaldara, India, all women who walk for water every day. They wore their most beautiful, traditional indian clothes and made the walk for water and kind of overlaid it with techno music, basically, music you might hear in a fashion show, and just really tried to show the contrast between, while we're all focused on New York Fashion Week or Milan Fashion Week, which is exciting and fun to know, there's also this really serious walk that's going on every day that is going unseen.

Ravi Kurani
Wow, that's really provocative and profound. I actually love that. We'll have to post that in the show notes to that definitely. What does technology look like when you guys go and actually deploy these infrastructure projects all the way from kind of, as you mentioned, starting up a utility, getting quotes all the way to kind of making sure that you're monitoring and measuring properly? Because you did mention at the beginning of the episode that monitoring is a really big concern of yours and the organization. And so what does technology kind of look like within that sphere?

Katherine Williford
So technology, for us, our technology policy is that we need it to be locally available and affordable in the communities where we work. So a lot of times we'll have well intentioned companies that have a new, exciting technology that they're wondering, could they donate? Maybe it would work for a particular system, but kind of based on that experience in the 1990s that I talked about, we know that if we bring that in one time, leave it, and there's no supply chain to bring it back to Uganda, it's actually not a help. It would better to have a hand pump that's reliable, for example. And so a lot of our technology is still pretty simple.

Katherine Williford
I mean, we have gravity fed systems, which for listeners is just kind of using the hilliness of some of the areas where we work to push water to different areas in the community. And as far as monitoring and evaluation right now, it's still pretty simple. We send out enumerators who are going and doing surveys. But I have been really interested to learn about how some other health nonprofits are using iPads, for example, to go out and gather and report out that data more efficiently and effectively. But again, if you're working in a community where the average income is less than $5 a month, just technology is difficult to access in a way that's sustainable.

Ravi Kurani
Totally makes sense. And from a management and maintenance perspective, too, the folks that are either water for people, individuals or local, are those being paid by the philanthropic dollars from water for people, or are they raised via the local governments? I'm sure it's a hybrid, but how does that work? Because those people are now spending their time doing something that they otherwise wouldn't have been. So how do they get compensated?

Katherine Williford
Yes, and I'm glad that you asked, because they shouldn't do it for free. So a good example would be when I was in Chirizulu, Malawi, I got to visit with some really remote villages where they introduced me to their regional hand pump mechanic who was a local gentleman who had been employed by the district to go around, monitor and interview everyone. Is the system working? What repairs are needed? Go back around and actually do those repairs for community members. Communities in that case, are paying for specific repairs. They have a community water fund that they all pay into a small amount each month, and they pay this hand pump mechanic directly.

Katherine Williford
In other instances, both with operation and maintenance roles and other kind of similar roles, we might co finance a position like 50 with local government for four years with the intention that by year five it can be fully funded by the government, things like that. So that it's not all on government all at once, because we're right there alongside them, but also so that they're getting used to that cost and that it's built into everything so that it's sustainable if and when we're no longer there.

Ravi Kurani
Yeah. Let's kind of pivot a little bit into what you do on your kind of day to day. As I'd mentioned, obviously, messaging has been a big problem in the water industry, and that's kind of a lot of your job. Walk us through the nitty gritty, maybe even like a case study of what you've seen that works, doesn't work. And maybe if you can kind of just talk a little bit about what your day to day looks like.

Katherine Williford
Yeah. So let's see. I oversee both fundraising and communications at water for people. And for a long time, we've had kind of a core group of donors. We were founded by the American Waterworks association. So we've got this really amazing core group of water and wastewater engineers, water engineers here in the US who are really passionate supporters of our mission and just great partners. It's a good example. They'll get into the nitty gritty with us. They are really excited about technology, innovation, climate because they're doing it here at home. Then we have supporters who might have learned about us online, seen us on social media, seen us in an article, and who might be newer to the issue of water.

Katherine Williford
And for those supporters, really kind of finding that unique human stories, you can tell how 5 million people were reached through this great impact model, but it doesn't really mean anything if you don't have that personal connection to how lives change with access to water. So we spend a lot of time in partnership with our country colleagues, collecting stories from community members, community leaders about how gaining water access has impacted them. And then something we're thinking about now is that has been a really great message to share kind of in the frame of gratitude with people who are already on board and supporting our work. But in terms of communicating with new audiences, people who aren't familiar with the global water crisis, we're finding we need to find those stories that are a little bit more urgent. And it's always delicate.

Katherine Williford
You don't want to sensationalize or take advantage of other people's stories. But it is those stories that move people to action in process right now, trying to find that balance of urgent and humane and honoring the stories of people in the global south. But that's the big thing. Numbers are flashy, but people are what people care about.

Ravi Kurani
People are what people care about. And when you talk about these stories, is that sort of like the Runway concept that you'd mentioned, where that would be like an initiative? What other initiatives are you seeing that are working with basically the new audience?

Katherine Williford
Yeah. So let's see. I'm trying to think with new audiences. One of our other really successful kind of forays into new audiences was in 2020. We were featured in an article by Nick Christoph, and he gave advice to his readers who to give to if you want to do good during the pandemic, essentially. And the language that was featured about us in there was around our working clinics, whereas before, we had always kind of just talked about water. Water. And then down here is a bullet point about clinics recognizing that in the context of a global pandemic, suddenly safe bathrooms and clean water access at the doctor's office were life and death. And so that was another message that, again, it actually aligned with the global conversation. And so that was the other time I found were able to break through.

Katherine Williford
But it is really hard.

Ravi Kurani
Yeah. And from, like, a demographic perspective, are you seeing more younger audiences beginning to donate? You see Gen Z, or is it still a lot more of the older population? Over 40? Over 50? What are you seeing in terms of also the cohorts that are donating, yes.

Katherine Williford
To share from the Runway campaign, but I suspect that they'll be trending younger. And over the past year, some of our efforts, we've seen people in their thirty s and forty s giving more versus the average donor age for many nonprofits. Is someone in their 50s or sixty s and Gen Z giving some, but not as much as the 30 and 40 year olds.

Ravi Kurani
Yeah, makes sense. And I guess it also scales with disposable income as well, which a lot of millennials are probably trying to make money right now. Versus donating.

Katherine Williford
Yes. Pay off student debt. All the things, I think, if we can get Gen Z passionate about this issue, the other indicators of support come later. But I think the most important thing, and that was one of the reasons for the Runway for water campaign is just to build awareness, build passion, build energy around the cause, because it's been hard to break through.

Ravi Kurani
And I can't finish up the marketing conversation without talking about channels. Where do you primarily market this stuff?

Katherine Williford
Yes. So we have really great engagement on LinkedIn and on Instagram, and then maybe in third place, I would say Facebook. We do also do some direct mail that has pretty good engagement from new people who engage with us in that way. And then we have not created a TikTok, but we have been talking about whether or not there's a space, is there a place for us? Do we have a story to tell? Do we have enough content to generate for a TikTok, but we haven't tried it yet?

Ravi Kurani
Totally makes sense. Yeah. And I guess if you were to cater to kind of Gen Z, a lot of them live on TikTok, much more than Instagram. Totally. I want to kind of circle back to this 2 billion number that you said early on. There's obviously a gap between the 200 million that water for people is going to reach and the 2 billion. Or what do you think are the strategies to fill that gap? Like, who else needs to come in? What other governments? What other people organizations? Maybe even ones that don't exist yet. If you were to have a magic wand, how would you fill that gap?

Katherine Williford
Yeah. So one of the things that I haven't mentioned yet, but that I'm really excited about is that water for people co founded the Destination 2030 alliance with IRC Wash. And now Water for Good has joined as well and kind of under that alliance, among other things, we've set these three strategic targets so 200 million people reached nationally, but also, how can we contribute to the global conversation and global investment choices so that those 2 billion people are reached by the end of 2030? I think that 2 billion number requires not only increased investment from places like national governments, the African Development Bank, UN entities, USAID, philanthropy. It's also presidential voices talking about this, making high level commitments.

Katherine Williford
Katerina de Albuquerque of SWA said at an event a couple of months ago that when President Roosevelt, I think that was, I'm going to get him messed up. But anyway, he made the goal, like, we're going to send someone to the moon in seven years, and we just have to do it. And there is something powerful there with somebody with enough influence, know, soft power, saying, no, enough is enough. We've got to do, I think, you know, water for people, IRC, water for good, other ngos. We've got a really important role to play in elevating this need and helping put the pieces together. But it'll really take grassroots and grass tops push at the same time to reach those 2 billion. And, yeah, it's coming quickly.

Ravi Kurani
Yeah, definitely. I love how you say grassroots and grass tops. I've actually never heard of that phrase before. Awesome. If you were to encourage the audience to make one move today, what would you tell them, alongside a point too, of, I love to ask this question of, like, what's something that you know that the audience doesn't know? Because there's always these little niches in each of our jobs that you deal with every day, and the rest of the world kind of doesn't know that.

Katherine Williford
Let's see. So certainly you can go to and sign up for our emails. We'll send out calls to action. Of course, there's opportunities to donate, to sponsor a race. There's a million different ways you can support with your voice or with your dollars and also just kind of curating your social media feed. We learn about what we decide to learn about. We've filtered ourselves really highly these days. And so not just water for people, but just other kind of internationally focused organizations on water and other causes, health. Just being globally aware, I think, is a really important and helpful move for all of us. And something that I know, I think the thing that I've been most struck by during my time working with water for people is, again, that intersection between women and girls in water.

Katherine Williford
And so we already talked about the 200 million hour lost each day. But it's also like gender based violence, unwanted pregnancy, all these things that are in the news around women's rights. If you're really passionate about those things, you're actually really passionate about ending the walk for water, too. So that would be my nugget. That has been a really important learning for me over the past couple of years.

Ravi Kurani
Totally makes sense. If you were to have a handful of actionable handles or even names, I'm sure people can search on Instagram for those handles. What's three? I mean, sometimes I'm like listening to a podcast and I'm like, immediately pull up my phone and like, now subscribing to these things. So you said one is water for get. Let's get two.

Katherine Williford
Yeah. So IRc wash, they are our partner in the alliance, water for good. And then I would follow un water. They have really good content as well.

Ravi Kurani
Awesome. I asked this question to everybody before we end the episode. And is there a book, a tv show or a movie that has had an outward effect on your life, caused you to kind of change the way you look at your world or potentially the world of water.

Katherine Williford
Yes. I think if any of my team ever listen to this, they'll laugh. I would say Brene Brown, dare to lead. I love all of her books, but particularly dare to lead has been really grounding and thinking about not only team leadership kind of internally at water for people, but also how do we show up in the world? How do we have these conversations with leaders, supporters, donors, whoever it might be? She's got a lot of good nuggets in there.

Ravi Kurani
Awesome. We'll definitely add those to the show notes. Katherine, thank you so much for joining us today. This was absolutely insightful.

Katherine Williford
Yeah, this was great. Ravi, thank you for having me.

Ravi Kurani
And for all of those of you out there, you can listen to us wherever you get your podcast. That can be Spotify, Google, which apparently now is actually being deprecated. And our Apple podcasts, or YouTube, you have been listening to liquid assets. Thanks again, and we'll catch you next time.

Get the latest episodes directly in your inbox