Updated Dec 07, 2018

Entrepreneur verre deau (petite taille)

1001fontaines - Water social micro-enterprises

Default avatar

Amandine Muret

Send Message

Stage 6: Sustainable Scale

1001fontaines is among the 10 leaders of the water-kiosk sector, with one of the most efficient cost-per-beneficiary ratios ($20 to provide access to water for one person for a lifetime). The initiative has been strongly supported by Nobel prize winner Muhammad Yunus and key stakeholders such as UNICEF, the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship, Stone Family Foundation, Google, the Skoll Forum, Danone, Accenture... In 2016, 1001fontaines received a prize of 500 000$ from the USAID, highlighting innovative projects.
1001fontaines has 400,000+ beneficiaries (including 150,000 children)
Early 2017, Dalberg, an international consulting firm, undertook a world-wide review of the major Water Kiosks type initiatives (including 1001fontaines). Their conclusions started with a global assessment related towards the Sustainable Development Goal N°6 “Over 4 billion people, more than half of the world’s population, lack access to safe, sustainable, water services…There is a clear need for new channels and mechanisms at scale.” Reviewing the various safe water supply modes, this firm estimates that the « Safe Water Entreprises (SWE) » like 1001fontaines have a role to play, not only where pipe systems do not exist, but also where such distribution mode already exists, as a complementary solution to guarantee water quality and sustainability of delivery services.

Registered in Cambodia.

Focus Areas:

Entrepreneurship, Education, Environment and 3 MoreSEE ALL

Entrepreneurship, Education, Environment, Health, Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) and Public-Private PartnershipsSEE LESS

Implemented In:

Cambodia, Madagascar and Vietnam

Cambodia, Madagascar and VietnamSEE LESS

Lives Impacted to Date
Countries Implemented In
Funds Raised to Date
Verified Funding

Mission and Vision

Today, with a 12-year track-record, over 400.000 beneficiaries (including 150.000 children at school for free) and demonstrated health and social impact, 1001fontaines is among the key players of market-based approaches addressing the Bottom-of-Pyramid populations. The organization is on its path towards financial sustainability and targets by 2020 to reach 1 million beneficiaries in Cambodia. The project, which started in Cambodia, has proved his replication capacity in other geographies such as Madagascar.

Innovation Description

1001fontaines provide safe drinking water to rural communities through an innovative social business model. This model enables rural populations to produce safe drinking water themselves through the creation of social micro-enterprises. Small water kiosks are set up and entrusted to local entrepreneurs, who are hired and trained by in-country partners. Water is produced locally using a low-cost technology, sold at an affordable price to villagers and provided free of charge to children at school
How does your innovation work?
Small water treatment facilities are implemented in remote villages and entrusted to small private operators (entrepreneurs) trained to produce and distribute safe drinking water at an affordable price to the villagers. The water is delivered directly to the homes of the beneficiaries, guaranteeing the quality of the water up to the point of consumption. The price of the water (currently around USD 0.013) is set in agreement with the community and provides the right balance between affordability for the family and the necessity for each entrepreneur to cover costs. The revenues generated by the water sales guarantee the financial sustainability of the initiative, as well as provide economic incentives to maximize the number of beneficiaries. Once a site reaches the break-even point, whereby the revenues cover all costs, each entrepreneur becomes a “franchisee”, taking full benefit of the operations and paying a monthly assistance fee to a local support team (“platform”) to cover technical assistance, routine maintenance and monthly quality control test.

Competitive Advantage

The mission of 1001 fontaines is to improve the health of rural populations by enabling them to access, in a sustainable way, to totally safe drinking water. 1001fontaines promote social micro-enterprises helping villagers producing and distributing safe drinking water in all places where such access does not exist or is not guaranteed. Outside of urban zones, the government does not provide the population with such guarantees of access, neither in terms of coverage nor in terms of safety. Our objective is to know how to accelerate the deployment of Water Kiosks solutions for rural populations in Cambodia, Madagascar, Myanmar, India and Vietnam.

Planned Goals and Milestones

Water kiosks have proven being a complementary solution to piped water supply, especially in areas with a lower density of population. The required investment per household is 5-10 times less expensive than pipe, and the related economic model ensures rigorous follow-up of water quality. Nevertheless, not a single player has managed to significantly replicate its model. The challenge is now to prove the ability of water kiosks to be a large-scale solution at global level. 1001fontaines will first achieve full proof of concept in Cambodia with 250 micro-entrepreneurs serving 75% of the rural population before 2020. They will finalize the social franchise toolkit and reinforce the management team in order to replicate the innovative model in new countries. The objective of 1001fontaines is to duplicate our business model in new countries (Madagascar, India, Myanmar, Vietnam...) with the support of internationalNGOs and local partners.
We are working on a large scale deployment strategy with strong partners that would be able to help them to distribute safe water in rural areas. One of the targets is to test new financial approaches (classic grants, microfinance, social impact investing…) to accelerate the scaling up in new countries (Myanmar, Vietnam and India). 1001fontaines ambition is to cover 5 to 10 new countries with at least 10 million beneficiaries.
Funding Goal15,000,000
Projected Cumulative Lives Impacted1,000,000


Sep 2018
New Country Implemented In
Dec 2017
Lives Impacted
Jan 2008
New Country Implemented In
Jan 2005
New Country Implemented In
Sep 2004