Today, 663 million people in the world lack access to an improved source of water according to WHO (JMP WHO-UNICEF, 2015 Update). The problem of access to safe drinking water affects even more people, since having access to an improved water source does not guarantee the quality of this source to be drinkable. Various solutions exist to address this problem, one of them is the “water kiosk” model: a decentralized water filtration system that brings safe and affordable drinking water to communities, with an economic model that is scalable and replicable.
In April 2016, Brieux Michoud with Waterpreneurs attended the Learning Expedition in Cambodia organized by Danone.Communities with 1001Fontaines, a French NGO whose mission is to develop a business model to enable rural people in developing countries to produce, independently and durably, safe drinking water. The Expedition included water kiosk organizations operating in Cambodia, Haiti, India, Mexico, Pakistan, Uganda, Nepal, and others. This workshop was designed to foster collaboration and best practices sharing among the existing players of water kiosk providers, starting the discussion from the model of 1001Fontaines.
In establishing Waterpreneurs, a WaterLex initiative that creates greater access to safe affordable water (and sanitation) by scaling-up the impact of water entrepreneurs in a safe environment and with ethical funding, Brieux Michoud attended the Cambodia workshop to participate in creation of a community of practice around water kiosks. The mission aim was for Mr Michoud to get visibility on key players of the sector, better understand existing water kiosk businesses and how various models are compatible with human rights-based approaches (HRBA). Aligning Waterpreneurs and its future network of funded water kiosk businesses with HRBA is the critical, added value of this WaterLex initiative. This mission was also a good opportunity for WaterLex to gain knowledge specific to the creation of water jobs in the frame of its projects on Human Rights Compliance for Private Sector Engagement in the water sector.
Mr Michoud stated that in the first day of training, “The field visits to two stations of 1001Fontaines were a good start to learn about their production, quality, marketing and distribution models. The economic model, team management and generated social impact were shown by the 1001Fontaines team through various examples. We discussed the role of the staff in the station, the way they produce water, the distribution model, the training system, the social model, key performance indicators, and more. It was very comprehensive. We finished the day with different debriefing sessions, where each model could share their experience in each of these topics, with the idea of sharing best practices to focus on impact.”
This Learning Expedition ended in the creation of a “Water Galaxy”, led by Danone.Communities, with different collaborative action plans to strengthen the existing players in their mission of delivering safe affordable water in the communities. Waterpreneurs will actively take part of these discussions.