The Centre for Affordable Water and Sanitation Technology (CAWST) announced that it has received two significant gifts from David O’Brien and Geoffrey Cumming. The gifts will see all new donations matched, up to $12 million.

The two Canadian businessmen and philanthropists have each chosen to invest in accelerating the impact of the Calgary-based international clean water charity.

“CAWST is addressing one of humanity’s biggest issues,” said O’Brien, chairman of CAWST. “I had the privilege of seeing the enormous leverage of this small, but mighty charity over the past 14 years. In 2017, I visited East Africa and witnessed how CAWST’s model is so effective and scalable. This match campaign will change lives.”

One-third of the world’s population (2.1 billion people) are trapped in a cycle of poverty because they lack access to safe, readily available water at home. To tackle this issue, CAWST works to scale up the number of local water, sanitation, and hygiene professionals in developing countries and improves their knowledge and skills.

“CAWST is notable for its can-do, entrepreneurial, spirit of innovation attitude,” said Cumming. “The high purpose of its mission and the professionalism of its people is what drew me to this organization. CAWST is tackling a critical global need and this unique international charity and professional engineering entity is making significant progress addressing clean water and sanitation in developing countries.”

The O’Brien-Cumming Match kicks off immediately. The $12 million donation is split evenly between O’Brien and Cumming, with each party contributing up to $6 million. More information about CAWST and the match campaign is available here.

Founded in 2001, CAWST is a Canadian charity and licensed not-for-profit professional engineering consultancy working to address the global need for safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene in developing countries. CAWST reaches people in need by working with the thousands of existing, in-country organizations to start or improve their water and sanitation projects. To learn more about CAWST and its transformational work, visit


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