For the past 15 years, 1001fontaines has pioneered and optimized a model called water kiosks, enabling the decentralized production of safe drinking water from local water sources in a sustainable manner.
Water kiosks are small water purification plants, set up directly in underserved areas, where vulnerable populations face major health challenges. The kiosks are entrusted to local entrepreneurs, recruited and trained by our teams to ensure water purification and distribution of reusable 20-liter jugs to the consumers’ homes. They sell safe water at an affordable price (less than €0.02 per litre), set to provide the right balance between affordability and profitability.
Water is also provided for free to the primary schools, in order to foster improvements in the health and educational experiences of the children.
To ensure the model’s sustainability, a local entity is set up as a franchising organization. They deliver a range of services in exchange for a percentage of the revenues from water sales. These entities are the keystone of our model to ensure the successful deployment of new kiosks and the continuity of service over the long run.
1001fontaines acts as the head of a network of projects, with a global team that supports the local entities with strategic guidelines, knowledge transfer, advocacy and partnership development.
To date, 1001fontaines is present in 4 countries: Cambodia, Madagascar, Myanmar and Vietnam. 850,000 people drink safe water on daily basis thanks to our 275 water kiosks, and we’ve created more than 900 jobs to ensure the quality and continuity of service.
With evidence of impact, financial viability, scalability in a country, and replication in several geographies, 1001fontaines has proven the capacity of the water kiosk model to bring a significant contribution to the SDGs, and is ready to join forces with like-minded organizations to scale it.
Access to safe drinking water is a major issue of the 21st century. The WHO and UNICEF estimate that 2.1 billion people do not have sustainable access to safe water. Daily, they drink water contaminated at concentrations that cause 3.6 million deaths every year due to waterborne diseases (data from Joint Monitoring Program report, 2017). In addition to these public health issues, the lack of access to safe drinking water also has negative impacts: on economic development, with countless days of work lost because of waterborne diseases; on education, with children falling sick or suffering from dehydration adversely affecting their cognitive capacities; on the environment, as one of the main options available to make water safe to drink is through boiling it, often with inefficient charcoal stoves emitting significant CO2.
By providing safely managed water services at an affordable price, our initiative aims to impact three SDGs’ clusters:
-Health cluster (SDG 3,6):
Consistent safe water access significantly decreases diarrheal diseases, against which children are particularly vulnerable. A 2012 study conducted in Cambodia showed a 30-60% diarrheal disease reduction (depending on the initial water source) for under-five children in 1001fontaines catchment areas.
These results are achieved thanks to a combination of a well-dimensioned infrastructure to purify the locally available water and ensure its quality, and to a standardized process guaranteeing this quality up to the point of use.
Awareness on water quality among the target communities is another key factor to scale health impact thanks to long-lasting behavior change.
-Economy cluster (SDG 1, 4, 8):
By establishing micro-enterprises directly in rural communities, 1001fontaines creates sustainable jobs at the grassroots level. The in-house curriculum entrepreneurs receive covers everything from water technical skills to marketing, finance, entrepreneurship, and team management. Thanks to the ongoing support of the franchise, these micro-enterprises are highly sustainable, with a survival rate of 82% since our founding.
Beyond creating, we also provide a basic service at an affordable price – a key contributor to customers exiting poverty. The cost of 1001fontaines water actually replaces other water-related costs (e.g. charcoal to boil surface water) and health expenses due to waterborne diseases and, as a result, enable consumers to have lower, more predictable expenses related to water.
-Environment cluster (SDG 7, 12, 13):
The United Nations Framework Convention for Climate Change (UNFCCC) has allowed 1001fontaines to issue carbon credits for the emissions our approach offsets (buying safe water instead of boiling on cookstoves). The decentralization of production and distribution also limits the emissions linked to our activity. In Cambodia alone, we avoid approximately 17,000 tCO2 each year.
Knowing that by 2025, half of the world’s population will be living in water-stressed areas and already observing the adverse consequences of climate change, 1001fontaines has also placed resilience of water supply to climate change as a high priority. The light and flexible infrastructure of the water kiosk has proved its adaptability and thus its capacity to guarantee the continuity of service despite extreme events, such as drought or floods.