Portfolio Learnings: Safe and affordable drinking water in India from Spring Health

Published on: 11/12/2020

The latest article in the Portfolio Learnings series highlights the work of Spring Health, an organisation that delivers affordable, safe drinking water to rural households in eastern India.

Its innovative model is based on a partnership between kirana shops in small villages, and incentive-based profit-sharing with local entrepreneurs. Following a franchising system, these kiosks are given water tanks, filters and chlorine provision to purify water, and deliver 10-litre jerry cans of safe drinking water to households daily.

TRANSFORM’s support

With the goal of setting up another 100 kiosks by the end of 2020, Spring Health aimed to ensure safe water delivery to consumers in rural Odisha, Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand. TRANSFORM supported the project to scale to an additional 100 villages, aiming to impact more than 25,000 low-income families. 

Since January 2019, Spring Health has created 180 jobs, created 92 entrepreneurs, reached over 18,000 households and impacted more than 90,000 individuals. The company has also been scouting to identify villages where safe water distribution can be set up. The scouting team interacts with village elders and discusses the potential of setting up kiosks in those villages. However, the COVID-19 pandemic is limiting interactions with village elders and potential entrepreneurs. Nevertheless, 15 villages have been identified. 

Learnings and next steps

In the last 24 months, Spring Health identified several key learnings. They included the importance of identifying a good entrepreneur who is accepted by the villagers; the home delivery system as a source of pride for households; constant marketing as essential in and around the villages; and behaviour change as the biggest roadblock, calling for campaigns around the importance of safe drinking water.

Based on these learnings, the company is working to address these points and make the roll-out of the project more effective:

  • By asking the elders to identify three potential individuals during the scouting phase, the selected entrepreneurs are ensured to be well-accepted by the villagers.
  • The company is developing a mobile app for the end user to place their order directly through the app.
  • Spring Health is trying to raise separate capital for the marketing activities to support marketing in the villages and increase the visibility of the initiative.
  • A school programme has been designed for the junior classes to be implemented in the next academic year, where the company shares a text book which talks about the benefits of WASH and why individuals should always opt for safe drinking water.  

While the COVID-19 has been disrupting life at all levels, projects like Spring Health continue to work to meet the needs of underserved households in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. Read more about the projects supported by TRANSFORM in our Portfolio.

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