Small enterprises as a critical safe water solution

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Small water enterprises that collect, treat and sell clean water through a decentralized system are increasingly recognised as a cost-effective solution to the provision of clean drinking water. 1001fontaines implements this impactful model to provide safe drinking water to rural communities in developing countries. In Cambodia we are supporting the set up 80 new water kiosks over the next two years and thus grow the operating network to 300 water kiosks serving 900,000 people by 2022.

Duration
2020-2022
Focus area
Access to Basic Services
country
Cambodia
partner
1001fontaines

Context

In South-East Asia, access to safe drinking water has increased significantly over the past two decades, but major efforts are still needed in more remote areas. In Cambodia, one in three people living in rural communities use water from non-improved drinking sources, seven in ten pre-primary schools do not have access to water and sanitation facilities, and one in two rural healthcare facilities do not have sufficient water all year around (UNICEF 2020).

Action

1001fontaines provides safe drinking water to rural communities in Cambodia thanks to a social business model, relying on local entrepreneurship and low-cost technology. Their approach consists in setting up small solar water purification plants, called water kiosks, and training local entrepreneurs to produce safe drinking water and distribute it to the villagers at an affordable price.

The purified water is delivered directly to the beneficiaries’ homes, ensuring its quality is maintained up to the point of consumption. The price of the water (currently around USD 0.02 per litre) is set in agreement with the community to ensure it is affordable for the families while enabling each entrepreneur to cover their costs. The revenues generated by the water sales ensure the financial sustainability of the local businesses, who can also afford the monthly support fee to a local franchising entity that provides business coaching, technical assistance, routine maintenance and a monthly quality control test.

In addition, the water is supplied free of charge to children at school, which helps reduce absenteeism and enables the kids to grow more healthily, benefiting fully from their education.

Expected results

We are supporting 1001fontaines’ goal to set up 80 new water kiosks in Cambodia over the next two years and thus grow its operating network to 300 water kiosks serving 900,000 people by 2022.

Long-term strategy

1001fontaines’ ambition is to reach 1.5 million people by 2025 and achieve financial sustainability at national level.