A safe drinking water for all

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A safe drinking water for all

Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
$500,000 - $1 million
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Our objective is to provide safe drinking water to millions of villagers, in many countries, for an affordable price (0,01 $/litre) and in a sustainable manner (the economic model being one where every production sites as well as the supporting infrastructure finance themselves from the water sales).

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Almost four billion persons live, in this world, with less than one euro per day, and nearly three billion of them do not benefit the 50 litres/day/person recognized as the definition of « access to drinkable water ». 84 % of this population, 900 million individuals, live in rural areas, with no other choice than drinking … swamp water. Nearly 4,000 children die, every day, because of water-borne diseases, and it seems to us totally worthless to undertake any nutrition improvement effort without, at first, securing the largest nutriment they ingest : water.
About You
1001 fontaines pour demain
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Section 1: About You
First Name


Last Name



1001 fontaines pour demain

Section 2: About Your Organization
Organization Name

1001 fontaines pour demain

Organization Phone

+33 612 11 08 23

Organization Address

8 rue de la Porte Blanche 92430 Marnes la Coquette France

Organization Country
Your idea
Country your work focuses on
What makes your idea unique?

The proposed solution is based on a two-fold vision : 1. a combination of two simple technologies (ultraviolet water treatment powered by solar energy) in a simple, solid and easy-to-manage process (the simplicity of the purification process enables each Treatment Center to produce 2,000-6,000 litres of drinking water per day - the minimal requirements of a population of 1,000-3,000 people), 2. an "entrepreneurial" operating model ("Small Private Operator"), based on standard economics (cost recovery), ensuring the sustainability of this water provision. In each village, an economic micro-activity of drinking water production is created, the role of this entrepreneur/operator being then to produce the purified water (in 20-litre bottles) and to sell those bottles within the village, at a price low enough (0.01 $ per litre) to be affordable by the people of the village, but high enough to cover his livelihood as well as the maintenance costs of his production unit.

These village-centered entrepreneurs are supported by a regional platform which manages, on their behalf, processes such as consumables and spare parts supply chain management or water quality control. Here again, sustainability is guaranteed, the platform costs being covered by an assistance fee paid by every production unit in exchange of the provided services ("franchise" model).

Do you have a patent for this idea?

What impact have you had?

As of year-end 2009, 30 drinking water production centers have been set-up in North-West Cambodia, serving approximately 30,000 beneficiaries during the dry season. 4 experimental sites also been launched in 2008-2009 in Madagascar.

Furthermore, through a specific Sponsorship Program, we deliver, every day, in the primary schools of the villages where we are located as well as in children homes, totally safe drinking water to approximately 9,000 children, these children for whom water-borne diseases have the worst consequences.


Although the initiative was started in Cambodia, it is designed for being expanded in many countries. The standard expansion methodology is generally structured, for each country, along a three-phased approach :

- a first phase (Experimentation), based on four to ten experimental villages, aiming at testing the technology, refining the models by taking into account local parameters and verifying, through a "live" experimentation, its potential acceptance and workability by villagers. This phase was achieved for Cambodia between 2004 and 2007, and was started for Madagascar in 2008.

- a second phase (Roll-out model), based on forty to fifty additional new villages (in the same region), aiming at building the local skills needed to run the local platform as well as methodologies in view of a wide-scale dissemination. This phase started in Cambodia in 2008 and should be completed by end 2010,

- a third phase (Roll-out stage), planned for covering hundreds of new small communities over several years, in selected areas of the country. Our objective for Cambodia will be to create between 2011 and 2016 approximately 200 new operating sites, over one third of the country.


By year-end 2009, thirty drinking water production sites will have been established in North-West, serving 30,000 beneficiaries, and fully supported by a totally operational local platform established in Battambang.

By year-end 2011, this platform should support a total of 50 operating sites in the North-West region, serving 60,000 beneficiaries.

By year-end 2016, four platforms should be operational in Cambodia, supporting approximately 250 operating sites, serving between 300,000 and 500,000 beneficiaries.

What will it take for your project to be successful over the next three years? Please address each year separately, if possible.

Our project is based on three major pillars : Quality (for the water), Sustainability and Scalability.

The very low selling price (0.01 $ per litre) for the water makes the water affordable for most of this very poor population, while, at the same time, ensuring the provision sustainability through the operating site self-financing capability.

However this price only covers the operations and maintenance costs, but can not include the initial investment amortization. Therefore, the initial investment (20.000 $ per site) is funded by grants or donators.

Required capital for delivering our expansion plan amounts to 600 k$ each year for 2010 and 2011, then 1.000 k$ per year between 2012 and 2016.

What would prevent your project from being a success?

Project is already a success for the 30.000 beneficiaries who have decided that it was worth paying, everyday, 0.01 $ per litre for drinking a safe water rather than free but filthy pond water. Figures shows that, with the help of regular education campaigns, the number of beneficiaries increase, for each site, by 20% year after year, indicating that messages are more and more understood.

How many people will your project serve annually?

More than 10,000

What is the average monthly household income in your target community, in US Dollars?

Less than $50

Does your project seek to have an impact on public policy?


What stage is your project in?

Operating for 1‐5 years

In what country?
Is your initiative connected to an established organization?


If yes, provide organization name.

1001 fontaines pour demain

How long has this organization been operating?

More than 5 years

Does your organization have a Board of Directors or an Advisory Board?


Does your organization have any non-monetary partnerships with NGOs?


Does your organization have any non-monetary partnerships with businesses?


Does your organization have any non-monetary partnerships with government?


Please tell us more about how these partnerships are critical to the success of your innovation.

Partnerships with field NGOs help improving the implementation process within the beneficiaries communities.

Partnerships with businesses (such as Danone Group, Accenture, Mérieux...) provide us with expert skills that we don't have within our organization.

Partnership with local governments (such as the Cambodian Ministry of Rural Development) are mandatory for expanding this solution on a wide scale within the country.

What are the three most important actions needed to grow your initiative or organization?

The first most important action is to complete the current phase in Cambodia which will demonstrate the efficiency of the global (platform+operating sites) model. In parallel with our expansion in Cambodia and Madagascar, our most important next action would be to start implementing this model in Bangladesh, for two reasons :
1. first, because of the magnitude of the improvement we could bring to a country suffering, on top of the usual problems, of a huge arsenic pollution of underground water (we propose creating 1.000 operating sites serving 3 million people over a ten years period),

2. but also, because, due to the people density of this country, our economic model would be able, without changing the sales price of the water, to incorporate the initial investment amortization (the initial cost of 20,000 $ thus being funded by a loan of some local financial operator such as the Grameen Bank); thus relieving us of the current dependance on grants or donators for creating new production sites.

The Story
What was the defining moment that led you to this innovation?

The project idea was born during a dinner among the three co-founders :
- a young cambodian engineer, born in one of these small isolated community of North-Cambodia and who, despite his poor origin, has succeded, in the education field, up to be graduated from the most talented universities of both Cambodia and France (he has been recognized in 2007 by the Junior Chamber International as one of the ten outstanding young person of the planet),
- myself, enjoying a succesful track record in the consulting business but seeking a different sense for my activities,
- a (also succesful) business woman, whose father - a talented electronics engineer - had once designed a small system (based on UV water purification powered by solar energy) in order to enable a small french goat cheese producer, established in an isolated farm (away from electricity as well from any tap), to incorporate a natural source water into his cheese production.

Despite the skepticism of all the "specialists" (large NGOs, water industrials) who all explained us that "it would never work", we decided to try, in three small cambodian villages, and see whether such idea would respond to the villagers' needs. And, after 18 months, it seemed that the answer was positive.
Since 2004, we have now equipped 30 sites in Cambodia, serving around 30.000 beneficiaries and are looking forward to expanding this project throughout Cambodia and into other countries.

Tell us about the social innovator behind this idea.

As a consultant and later Partner of Andersen Consulting (from 1975 to 1997), I carried out numerous missions in many areas of management and industry. Member of the Management Committee, I directly contributed to the strategic development of Andersen Consulting (now Accenture).

From 1997 to 2003, I worked as an independent consultant in Strategy and Change Management areas, while simultaneously managing a small business company (automatic drink dispensers).

A civil mining engineer, I am married and have two children.

How did you first hear about Changemakers?

Through another organization or company

If through another, please provide the name of the organization or company