In 2006, Stan Laskowski attended the World Water Forum in Mexico City. He returned to Philadelphia convinced that much could be done in our region to help out with the problems he learned about during that trip. He was specifically troubled by the high infant mortality as related to water-borne diseases. Using his network, he invited a number of professionals from different disciplines to a brainstorming meeting. And so the Philadelphia Global Water Initiative was started. Sixteen some individuals debated, discussed, cajoled and formed an agenda and plans. Bylaws were created, the IRS declared our work worthy of a 501-c-3 tax-exempt status in 2008 and work was taken up.
Over the years, PGWI has been involved in several projects, has been to each World Water Forum since and has becoming known as hub for the region around knowledge sharing. Fundraising has not yet become a major forte of the PGWI, but the educational and supportive aspects of its work have become clear hallmarks. For example its 9th Annual Conference is scheduled for 6th of April 2016 with 10th Conference planned for the first week of January 2017 in Kolkata, India.
In 2014, the team evaluated the progress (and stagnations) of PGWI and decided to re-assess the organization more as a hub service in a diverse network of groups, individuals and institutions, with the intent to raise the impact and quality of programs and projects of its own members and others through nudging, advising, assisting and mentoring. In that process, PGWI was re-branded as the Global Water Alliance. The GWA is embarking the next phase of networking, incorporating the newly launched Sustainable Development Goals in its strategic planning and especially targeting manpower development and consulting services in the global WASH policy arena, with the outspoken demand to tackle the social inequities in sanitation and hygiene that exist worldwide.