Access to water: a daily challenge

In developing countries, access to water is one of the CRUCIAL NEEDS and one of the major challenges facing the most vulnerable populations. Generally neglected from urban public policies, precarious neighbourhoods do not enjoy sustainable access to running water, which is a source of many problems for residents.

The chore of fetching water water is mainly performed by women and children who must, several times a day, make the journey between their home and the water point (wells, fountains ...), heavily weighed down. These shuttles as well as queues and water cuts take up a lot of time that could be spent on other activities. In addition, the water from these water points is generally of poor quality and available in insufficient quantities to meet the basic needs of hydration and personal hygiene.

To compensate for the lack of public services, parallel supply systems are being set up: hacking of the official water network, private wells, illegal resellers, etc. Piracy degrades the pressure and water quality of the concessionaire of the city because its entire network is thus contaminated by sewage, waste ... It also represents a loss of water and therefore income for the official operator. Owners of private wells and illegal resellers, for their part, charge much more than the official concessionaire and often form mafia systems, which are sources of pressure for families . The quality of well water and stored water is often unfit for consumption and generates many waterborne diseases (diarrhea, cholera, yellow fever, dengue, malaria ...) and therefore significant health expenses. .

Eau et Vie’s response to the issue

Eau et Vie creates local water distribution social enterprises. The social enterprise builds a water network connected to that of the concessionaire of the city and distributes water in the underprivileged urban district by providing all the associated services: meter reading, collection of payments, maintenance and network security. The pressure is regulated and the size of the pipes is studied in order to avoid leaks and contaminations. In partnership with the local water operator, the objective is to OFFER EACH FAMILY AND EVERY PUBLIC PLACE a connection to running water at home.

The company operates in neighbourhoods where the official operator cannot work according to its profitability standards. Contrary to popular belief, disadvantaged families are solvent if the projects are adapted to their way of life. The working methods of the local social enterprise are therefore adapted to the functioning of the community. For example, the collection of payments is done weekly at home. The staff (plumbers, collectors, encoders ...) is 80% recruited in the intervention areas where the agencies are located.

The price of water is defined in partnership with the official operator and validated by the local authorities. It is calculated in such a way as to be accessible for families and to cover the running costs of the network. The cost of the connection, which represents an insurmountable expense with the official water operator, is not only much cheaper, but is also associated with a one-year payment method.

Each agency aims for financial and organizational sustainability in order to sustain its action in the intervention districts. When the viability threshold is reached, the company's profits are fully reinvested to continue the water supply activities and to contribute to a community fund.

Social Enterprises

Three local social enterprises were created : Tubig-Pag Asa (« Water and Hope ») in the Philippines, Shobar Jonno Pani (« Water for All ») in Bangladesh and Dji Ni Sii (« Water and Long Life ») on Côte d'Ivoire.

Since 2010, access to quality water and sanitation has been listed by the UN as a human right. Based on the observation that one-third of the population in developing countries lives in precarious urban neighbourhoods, Eau et Vie has made a commitment to sustainably improve the living conditions of families in these neighbourhoods by connecting each household to drinking water.

Even today, the data is alarming:

More than a billion people around the world do not have access to safe drinking water.

Every 8 seconds, a child dies in the world for lack of access to drinking water.

2.6 million people die each year from water-related diseases.

Source : Oxfam

The lowest drinking water distribution rates are found in sub-Saharan Africa (58%) and the Pacific (52%), but Asia has the highest number of people without water drinking.

Source : UNICEF


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