Access to water that is clean and safe is a basic precondition for personal and public health. A single person needs about 50 liters (14 gallons) of water per day to meet basic needs and keep public health risks low. People also need a safe place to dispose of their bodily waste. FINCA is developing solutions to both problems.
Poverty and lack of access to clean water and proper sanitation and hygiene are mutually reinforcing. The poor have less access to these goods and services and in their absence pay a high price in terms of health and quality of life.
In 2010, the United Nations recognized water and sanitation as “essential for the full enjoyment of life and all human rights.” In 2015, the UN enshrined universal and affordable water, sanitation, and hygiene as a key public health goal. FINCA is advancing these global priorities. We are working with a handful of visionary entrepreneurs to make clean water and sanitation available, affordable and accessible to all.
Jibu delivers affordable drinking water to low-income communities in numerous countries in Africa. They focus on serving densely populated urban markets with little availability of clean, piped water.
Jibu keeps costs low by selling wholesale, avoiding middleman and retail markups. They virtually eliminate transportation costs by localizing production. And because Jibu’s bottles are reusable, customers make just one bottle deposit. After that, Jibu customers only pay for the water they drink.
But Jibu founders are most proud of the fact that their business is built on a franchise model. They are thrilled to increase local business ownership. They also create thousands of jobs opportunities, many of them for women and youth.
The sanitation service chain is long and complex. Systems must collect and store human waste, transport it to a treatment facility, and dispose of or reuse it. Most of the developing world struggles with some or all these stages due to budget constraints. The cost of sewered, water-based sanitation is, simply, astronomical.
Our partner Sanivation tackles many aspects of the sanitation service chain. From collecting to transporting and treating human waste, Sanivation addresses the sanitation pain points of developing country municipalities.
The company’s unique selling point, however, is its innovative re-use model. Sanivation turns a waste treatment plant into a profit generator, not a cost center. They safely treat fecal sludge, largely using renewable energy, and transform it into an improved alternative to charcoal and firewood for cooking and heating. The fuel briquettes they are make are sold for domestic and commercial use.
Stories of Resilience
According to a study by UN Water, investment in water and sanitation services generates a quantifiable, positive return on investment through saved medical costs and increased productivity. In cities, the returns on investment are about $3 per $1 dollar invested. In rural areas, the returns are twice as high.