Tuesday, July 11, 2017
TechnoServe Innovation: the sunlight water center empowers women .
TechnoServe Innovation:The sunlight water center empowers women An innovative retail model is allowing women business leaders like Charity Dangana to sell safe and affordable water in their communities. Like many women in Nigeria, Charity Dangana is responsible for providing water for her household’s needs. During the dry season, the local wells in her village, Kubacha, dry up. For years Charity had to rely on a polluted and out-of-the-way stream to collect water for herself, her husband and their 4-year-old son. So when Charity heard about a business opportunity that could provide clean water for the community, she jumped into action. Not only would the new Sunlight Water Center (SWC) model help her secure safe and affordable water, but the opportunity would also provide Charity with a more reliable income. The sunlight water center, fulfill a perpetual and critical need of providing clean, low-cost water and steady revenue for the entrepreneurs who run them. This project was developed by Unilever and TechnoServe, the model delivers a sustainable business solution to perennial water challenges in rural and peri-urban areas. Even though boreholes have been installed in some of these places, they lack the model and incentive to ensure consistent maintenance, and many have fallen out of service. The SWC approach engages women entrepreneurs like Charity to own and run retail centers that produce, store and sell clean water alongside other everyday products, such as food and toiletries. The centers also provide services like mobile phone charging and mobile banking, and Charity is even educating community members about good hygiene. “The center provides for the daily needs of the community,” says Charity. “It provides access to clean water and other essential products that are required by families.” This retail model helps to cross-subsidize water that is sold at affordable rates and creates a profitable business venture. As a result, the women owner-operators and their community equity partners have a real incentive to maintain the boreholes long into the future. Each Sunlight Water Center benefits more than 500 individuals through access to sustainable clean water. In addition to promoting better health through safer water, this creates a positive economic ripple effect. By spending less time and money to collect water, women in the village can pursue other economic opportunities. more