WaterAid welcomes new CEO Kelly Parsons

Posted by
Sarah Kershaw
25 September 2019
The Americas
Kelly Parsons, incoming CEO WaterAid (US) headshot
Image: Stroud Images

September 25, 2019 (New York, NY) — The WaterAid America Board of Directors is pleased to announce that Kelly Parsons will join WaterAid as its new Chief Executive Officer, effective October 21, 2019. 

Parsons will take over from outgoing CEO Sarina Prabasi, who served served in this role since 2014, and previously also led WaterAid's Ethiopia country program.

We thank Sarina for her dedication and stewardship and welcome Kelly. She brings a commitment to global development and a proven track record of leveraging private and institutional capital to find innovative solutions to global challenges. After an extensive candidate search, the board is confident that Kelly will help us accelerate progress toward our mission to reach everyone, everywhere with clean water, sanitation and hygiene.
Marc Robert, Board Chair, WaterAid

Most recently, Parsons led the Corporate Partnerships and Philanthropy team at Population Services International (PSI). Previously, she led the Marketing Leadership Council, a network of Fortune 500 marketing executives and served as CEO of Melcrum Inc., a corporate and employee communications startup. 

I am delighted to join an organization poised for significant growth and that is resolutely focused on such a critical issue in global development. Water, sanitation and hygiene are the building blocks for a dignified, healthy and productive life. WaterAid will continue to work tirelessly and in partnership with diverse stakeholders to achieve universal access to these human rights, leaving no one behind.
Kelly Parsons, incoming CEO

Parsons holds a Masters in International Development from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) and an MBA from the Wharton School of Business. She started her career as a Peace Corps Volunteer in rural Guatemala.


For more information, contact Director of Communications & Marketing, Emily Haile [email protected]

Notes to Editors: 


WaterAid is working to make clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene normal for everyone, everywhere within a generation. The international not-for-profit organisation works in 28 countries to change the lives of the poorest and most marginalized people. Since 1981, WaterAid has reached 25.8 million people with clean water and 25.1 million people with decent toilets. For more information, visit www.wateraid.org/us, follow @WaterAidAmerica or @WaterAidPress on Twitter, or find WaterAid America on Facebook at www.facebook.com/WateraidAmerica

Basic statistics

  • 785 million people in the world – one in nine – do not have clean water close to home.
  • 2 billion people in the world – almost one in three – do not have a decent toilet of their own.
  • Around 310,000 children under five die every year from diarrheal diseases caused by poor water and sanitation. That's over 800 children a day, or one child every two minutes.
  • Every $1 invested in water and toilets returns an average of $4 in increased productivity.
  • Just $24 can provide one person with clean water.

To find out if countries are keeping their promises on water and sanitation, see the online database www.WASHwatch.org