The Nexus Center is an off-grid basic infrastructure hub combining safe drinking water and energy services targeted towards underserved consumers living in rural Nepal. The network of independent infrastructure centers, with water treatment systems and solar power centers by Trunz Water Systems at their core, provide safe drinking water, recharging services for electronic devices, space rental to local businesses and advertising opportunities at an affordable price. The centers are operated and maintained by franchisees (local entrepreneurs, cooperatives, women groups or communities). Depending on the local entrepreneurial initiatives, additional services and products can be offered, such as internet, microfinance, refrigeration, public toilets, hygiene products and other basic necessities.
By strengthening local entrepreneurship and expanding access to quality basic infrastructure, the NEXUS Centers accelerate development and generate inclusive growth. The replicable
market-driven business model constitutes therefore a sustainable solution to overcome some of the major development challenges in Nepal.
Most Nepalese are deprived of access to basic necessities. A large part of the groundwater sources in Terai, the Southern belt of Nepal, has been found to be contaminated with arsenic or bacteria. Moreover, most households have no reliable access to electricity due to load shedding of up to 16 hours per day.
The Nexus Center has long-lasting economic and social impact on underserved communities:
- Health: High-quality drinking water that exceeds WHO Guideline
Values reduces incidences of water-borne diseases.
- Convenience: Customers can buy all basic necessities at one place.
- Affordability: The offerings are affordable for low-income consumers
- Empowerment: Creation of jobs and a supportive environment for local entrepreneurial initiatives
Safe drinking water is sold at 1 US Cent per liter, battery recharging service for solar lamps and mobile phones costs 5 US Cent and room rental for local businesses 30 USD per month. The numbers are based on a thorough willingness-to-pay survey. No financial support is needed. The business is financially viable, which means that operational as well as upfront capital expenditures are recovered. Local entrepreneurs will generate profits when reaching the projected sales volume.
The Nexus Center in Numbers:
- Safe drinking water produced per day: up to 10’000 liters
- Cost of 20 liters of safe drinking water: NRP 20 (US$ 0.2)
- Population served: up to 3’000
- Number of rooms leased: 3
- Outdoor advertising space leased: 400 square feet
- Jobs created: 2.2 direct FTE and up to 10 indirect jobs
- Average cost of installation per shop: US$ 52’000