Since its creation in 2007, Danone Communities has invested in social businesses that provide access to safe drinking water: Naandi Community Water Services in India, EcoAlberto in Mexico, 1001 Fontaines in Cambodia, with replication in Madagascar. In 2017, Danone Communities invested in two new social businesses that provide access to safe drinking water: dIoHaiti in Haiti and Jibu in Uganda, Rwanda and Kenya.
Why it matters
Safe drinking water is a worldwide challenge: over 4 billion people—more than half of the world’s population—lack access to safe, sustainable water services. We define these as services using an improved source that is treated for chemical and biological contaminants.
- 670 million have access only to unimproved water(1);
- 1.7 billion have unsafe piped water(2);
- 2 billion have a decentralized solution for improved water, but it is not safe(2).
The 4 billion people lacking access to safe drinking water are living mostly in Asia (500 million in India, 109 million in Indonesia, 34 million in the Philippines) and Africa (62 million in Ethiopia, 27 million in Kenya, 21 million in Uganda)(3).
This lack of access to safe drinking water has severe consequences: 50% of hospital beds in developing countries are occupied by people with waterborne diseases, and 50% of malnutrition is associated with unsafe water or inadequate sanitation, with women and children hit hardest. Also lack of access to safe drinking water has an impact on the education of children since each time they are sick, they do not go to school. In 2014, a study confirmed that school absenteeism declines by around 60% for children drinking 1001 Fontaines water every day(4).
(1) Source: World Health Organization and UNICEF. (2) Source: The 'Untapped Potential of Decentralized Solutions to Provide Safe, Sustainable Drinking Water at Large Scale' study. (3) Source: JMP WHO / Unicef 2015. (4)Source: PLOS ONE, March 14, 2014.
How it works
There are many ways to give access to water—pipes, filters, chlorine and more. Safe water enterprises offer cost-effective solutions for low-density areas with highly contaminated local water or complementary treatment solutions for unsafe pipes.
Safe Water Enterprises (SWE) are all built on the same business model: a decentralized water treatment and distribution solution that sells to local inhabitants at an affordable price. Since its business model provides value to local communities, it is both sustainable and community-relevant.
How it creates value
SWE could be relevant for up to 100 million people around the world. Today, 800,000 people have access to safe drinking water at an affordable price, thanks to Naandi, 1001 Fontaines, EcoAlberto, dloHaiti and Jibu. In India, Cambodia, Madagascar, Mexico, Haiti, Uganda, Rwanda and Kenya, the safe water enterprises also create jobs for local inhabitants who operate the plants and sell the water.