This week, the 3rd IWA Development Congress & Exhibition of the International Water Association took place in Nairobi. Siemens Stiftung exhibited its projects on Basic Needs and Social Entrepreneurship. In particular, the Safe Water Enterprise (SWE) was exhibited and insights on the first pilots were discussed.
SWEs are self-sustainable ventures for decentralized access to safe drinking water. They are based on modern technology, education and entrepreneurship. At present, six kiosks have been established in Kenya.
Experiences of the first project phase were analyzed with regard to social, environmental and financial sustainability. Major insights included the importance of increasing the appreciation of the product “safe drinking water”, which can possibly be achieved through education and marketing. The customers of a SWE, as well as of any other drinking water project, actively take purchasing decisions, so practitioners in that field need to get a better understanding about the market and consumer demands of remote communities. At the same time, behavioral change is needed for better hygiene and health.
Through environmental sustainability, the responsible use of resources should be ensured. This also refers to the technologies applied. The SWE uses the SkyHydrant ultra-filtration technology, which works independently from electricity and only requires little maintenance. Financial self-sustainability of the kiosks can be reached, whereas the initial investments have so far been subsidized. Diversification of the products and services offered at the SWE is a further option to ensure sufficient revenues. These should also cover the income of the kiosk manager, who plays a crucial role for the SWE. Sales and marketing should be part of his core competencies. Overall, the kiosk manager’s entrepreneurial, social as well as technical skills are relevant to sustain the venture. Training and development of the kiosk managers therefore is a focus for us when planning further steps of the project. Together with the SkyJuice Foundation, Siemens Stiftung builds further SWE in Eastern Africa throughout the next months.
- Water & Waste Water
- Water & Waste Water