H2O: Innovative business model for safe and affordable drinking water 

Even though water has been officially recognised as a human right by the Bangladeshi government, 60% of Bangladesh’s 160 million inhabitants have no access to clean drinking water. Many people live on polluted land or with polluted groundwater. Rural and rapidly growing (sub)urban areas are not usually connected to the public drinking water supply. People collect water of questionable quality from unofficial and informal providers at high prices.
Project duration
2022 - 2023

The Project

Given that people are willing and able to pay for drinking water, in the Shujola project (2019-2021) Swisscontact has helped local entrepreneurs to build and operate water kiosks with clean and affordable water in suburban areas. The water kiosk business model has proven very successful in the urban context, and the team now tests two different water kiosk models in the rural context.

In the community water kiosk model, a local SME is given support to establish a water kiosk. The water kiosk offers residents an affordable subscription to safe drinking water. Subscribers become co-owners of the water kiosk. As members of the water kiosk management board, their representatives earn decision-making rights in business and operational matters, playing a key role in sensitizing the local population.

In the school water kiosk model, a local SME is given support to build a water kiosk at a school. The school provides the land and access to water and power. The school directors are represented in a water committee that manages and guides the activities of the water kiosk. The kiosk has two windows: one facing the recreational area for the schoolchildren and teachers, and the other facing the road. The kiosk sells water in bottles and canisters to local residents (at lower prices), as well as to commercial clients and retailers (at higher prices) from the surrounding area. Through the schoolyard-facing window, the kiosk offers all schoolchildren and teachers a free daily ration of drinking water.

Project Goals

  • Two successful water enterprises are established, serving safe drinking water to at least 300 schoolchildren and teachers, and 400 low income households with approx. 1,750 inhabitants, respectively.
  • Solidarity mechanisms are tested to also provide access to the poorest of the poor.
  • Experiences are documented to facilitate replication of the successful water enterprise models in other locations.

Project Partners

  • Technology companies: EasySense, WIST Bangladesh – Drinkwell, and Vendy.ltd
  • Local NGO for local implementation support: LEDARS
  • School and community representatives


Expected Results

  • Two local enterprises each operate a water enterprise with an innovative business model: at a school and in a rural community.
  • At least 300 schoolchildren and 1,750 community residents of a rural community gain access to safe drinking water.
  • More than 2,000 potential clients of the water enterprises are sensitised to the concepts of safe water, health, and hygiene.

Results until October 2023

  • Two local enterprises established following innovative business models in a school and in a rural community.
  • 320 schoolchildren and teachers have gained free access to safe drinking water.
  • More than 350 households with more than 1,500 community residents from two rural communities gained access to safe drinking water.
  • More than 20 institutional clients (shops, restaurants, offices etc.) are regularly purchasing water from the two enterprises.
  • More than 3,000 potential clients of the water enterprises have been sensitised to the concepts of safe water, health, and hygiene.

Financing partners

This project is financed by Lokales Wasser 37 AG / Max Ditting AG. It is part of the Swisscontact Development Programme, which is co-financed by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), Federal Department of Foreign Affairs FDFA. 


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