Focus: Water Resources
Location: Kampala, Uganda
Access to safe drinking water is a human right, but one in eight people still don’t have clean water to drink, and even more lack proper sanitation. Waterborne diseases are the leading cause of sickness and death around the world, and children are especially vulnerable. Even where water is readily available, it is not always safe to drink. Households need to boil it, burning wood or charcoal in the process, treat it with chemicals, or buy it in a bottle, all of which can take a toll on the household budget and the environment. Traditional methods of solving this problem have not proven sustainable, as half of donor funded water projects fail after only a few years. Jibu aims to change this, and use a business model to make access to water sustainable.
Jibu is a water company incubator, selling its franchise and providing financing to new entrepreneurs. Their system treats water on the spot, so it can be sourced locally and sold inexpensively. They ensure that the water always costs less than other bottled water, even less than the charcoal that would be needed to boil it. In addition, all their bottles are reusable, so they reduce the number of plastic bottles that are thrown out. The system seems to be a perfect fit to Kampala, Uganda, where natural sources of water are readily available, but water contamination continues to sicken people and overpopulation is stressing existing infrastructure.
Jibu is creating a positive impact for the environment, people’s health, and economic development; it reduces carbon emissions from transporting bottled water or using charcoal to boil water, people have access to more affordable safe drinking water close to home, and Jibu’s model is creating businesses that contribute to economic growth (50% of which will be owned by women). Jibu currently has pilot projects in Uganda, Rwanda, and Democratic Republic of Congo and is preparing for expansion. Is sustainable business what the world needs to guarantee the human right to water?
Environmental impact: Improved access to water, reduced landfills & avoided use of fossil fuels, including avoided emission of GHGs and harmful substances
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