WHO reports that 91% of the world’s population had access to an improved drinking-water source in 2015, compared to 76% in 1990. However, a staggering 663 million people rely on unimproved water sources still, and it is estimated that contaminated drinking water causes 502 000 diarrhoea deaths every year.
The Access to Water foundation (A2W) was founded with a grant from the company Swiss Fresh Water in 2012, with an aim to provide safe drinking water in developing countries and to create jobs in local communities. The foundation is currently running water kiosk projects in certain parts of Sénégal and Bolivia which lack access to safe drinking water today.
How it works
The foundation installs the water treatment plants inside the kiosks, which are run by local water kiosk managers. The kiosk manager earns a living by producing and selling clean water to members of their community at an affordable price (between $0.5 and $1.5 cents per litre). The cost also finances the maintenance of the machines and the extension of the project. During the spring of 2017, A2W decided to team up with Better Shelter to pilot a few units as water kiosks in Sénégal.
According to A2W, the Better Shelter structure is suitable for the project as its size can accommodate all the equipment, and since the unit is easy to transport and quick to install, the kiosk manager is able to commence the water production on day one, instead of having to wait for the kiosk to be constructed (which in other cases can take several months). This allows the kiosk manager to start his or her business debt-free.
The kiosk manager can also disassemble a Better Shelter kiosk and move the business to another location if needed. Meanwhile, the unit is robust enough to protect the machines from bad weather, robbery or intrusion from goats or other animals. Three Better Shelter units are being evaluated in the Kédougou region in Sénégal – three machines in one unit in Kédougou City; one in Mako and one in Bentako.
Read more about the Access to Water Foundation here.