Access to Safe Drinking Water, the Sustainable Way

PepsiCo Foundation has awarded two grants, totaling $76 million, to sustainable water and sanitation efforts by WaterPartners and Safe Water Network. The PR release describes each program. WaterPartners will use the award to implement their WaterCredit program:

The WaterCredit program in India has two main components: first, to provide traditional grant funding directly to local non-government organizations to install pipes, faucets and storage cellars in impoverished communities, reaching some 60, 000 people. The second component is to establish a loan fund that will empower communities to expand access to safe water for an additional 60, 000 people over the course of the three-year project. This model produces a “multiplier effect” for impact based on a single source of funding and is the first time PepsiCo Foundation has applied micro finance as a strategic vehicle to advance water and sanitation improvements.

The idea of building community-based water supply projects through a combination of grants and loans is new to the water sector. Until now, nearly all water projects facilitated by other organizations have been funded entirely by grants, even when the individuals served by the project have the means to share costs.

Bridging microfinance and water is a topic that NextBillion.net covered earlier this year, so this is a connection that is working well in some regions and with the support of different organizations, such as ACCESS Development Services and Hindustan Unilever Limited. The vision behind this is that communities may not be able to afford methods that purify water and make it safe for drinking, but using microfinance models allows them to collectively take a loan and repay until they eventually purchase the system. Continue reading

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TC-I Tidbits

Here is your daily dose of headlines about innovative or anti-innovative ideas from around the country:

  • Microfinance
    • ACCESS Development Services and Agency for Technical Cooperation and Development will work to build cooperation between Europe and India to assist 20 MFIs in the country.
    • SKS Microfinance and Bajaj Allianz will form a partnership to provide clients with insurance products.
    • Standard Chartered expects to ramp up its investment in Indian MFIs.
  • Global Trends
    • The lure of high salaries and chance of returning home has encouraged many non-returning Indians to become returning ones.
  • Central Government
    • Power Generation and Transmission
      • In order to address load demands between the two countries, India and Sri Lanka will build a power line between them to help each deal with supply shortages.
      • The centre’s support for private initiatives to produce and provide hydro-electric power has come under scrutiny for whether only the wealthy have enjoyed access to the energy.
      • The government also presented its report on the safety of its proposed civilian nuclear program at the Convention on Nuclear Safety.
    • Climate Change
      • Pushing forward on the way the country will tackle global warming, the federal government looked to split up the effort into three parts.
  • State and Local Governments
    • Andhra Pradesh
    • Maharashtra
      • Education: Proposed rules will prohibit private school teachers from providing tuitions outside of the classroom, in order to eliminate the chance that these teachers favor these tutees over their own students.
    • Pune
      • Health: A NGO here utilizes pets to bring about emotional stimulation in autistic children.
    • Visakhapatnam
      • Housing: The ‘Rajiv Swagruha’ scheme has finally become a reality — promising the ability to own housing for over 10,000 applicants has begun, with the first acquisition of land by the city.

ACCESS to PureIt

A joint effort by ACCESS Development Services, an Indian microfinance technical services non-profit organization, and Hindustan Unilever is providing water purifiers to poor families. Unilever’s PureIt does not require any electricity or running water and so is perfect for rural use.  Nextbillion.net highlights the benefits of such a partnership through an anecdote.

Yakalakshmi lives in Nekkunda village, part of the Telengana region of Andhra Pradesh, with her husband and two children. Though she has water piped to her house by the village panchayat, her entire family fell ill for a month last monsoon season by drinking water directly from the tap. “We all got high fever and severe diarrhea,” and as a result, “we had to spend around Rs. 4000 ($100) on health care, which was very difficult for us.” So, when Yakalakshmi got the opportunity this past January to buy an effective water purifier through her Self Help Group (SHG) on an installment basis, she was one of the first to sign up.

The venture also shows two points. One that simply making people aware of a problem will not address the situation unless they can afford to do something about it. And two, that such an effort can be done on in a sustainable fashion.

Based on a public-private partnership model, this exciting tie-up is financially sustainable. The project has already been extended to 11 of ACCESS’s partner MFIs in Andhra Pradesh. HUL and ACCESS are now looking at expanding the initiative countrywide through the ACCESS Microfinance Alliance, which has a 110 partner MFIs across India, potentially bringing safe drinking water to a large proportion of the 2.4 million clients served by these MFIs.