Implementing a 1001 fontaines station in a rural commune of Madagascar east coast
1 location in Madagascar
Focus: Drinking Water - Community; Hygiene Education
Implementation dates: January 1, 2014 to December 31, 2016
Planned impact: 2,000 people
Status: Approved - Needs Funding
$34,020 estimated project cost
$34,020 requested
$0 funded to date
Peer Review Average Score: 8
9 reviews submitted
8 discussion participants


Our goal is to improve rural people's health, our approach for making a sustainable impact is to support village entrepreneurs to develop their own safe water production and distribution services, building on quality, accessibility and self-financing.


6 million Malagasy people living in rural areas do not have access to an improved water source. For every thousand children born in Madagascar, about 120 will die before 5 years of age (WHO/UNICEF). Diarrhoeal diseases are one of the main threats to their health. On the East Coast of the Great Island, water is plentiful but contaminated with various germs and viruses, which gave this area the name of the "diseases region".
In communes where 1001fontaines operates, alternative solutions do not guarantee the quality of the water consumed by villagers. Piped water systems exist in large communes only, and the lack of maintenance often results in poor water quality. Shallow wells are highly contaminated with feces while bad transportation and storage conditions lead to contamination of water from protected wells, drillings or water kiosks. On the other end of the solutions spectrum, bottled water is available only in small bottles (from 0.5 to 2 litres) - the main brand is "Eau Vive" - at the price of 2500 ariarys per litre. With a price of 25 ar. per litre as well as a guaranteed water quality, 1001fontaines offers a very high quality yet accessible service to underserved rural populations.
In 2008 we launched a pilot project in Madagascar, aimed at replicating the approach we developed in Cambodia, with the objective of adjusting it to meet the needs and demand for safe drinking water among rural Malagasy communities. This was done in partnership with an experienced local NGO - Saint Gabriel, which produces latrines. We installed 9 water stations between 2008 and 2012 in the regions of Analanjirofo and Atsinanana. This "Phase 1" of 1001 fontaines' action in Madagascar allowed us to test the relevance of the solution and to tailor it to specific local needs and constraints. During its 4 years of operation , it has received strong support from beneficiary communities, as well as public authorities, to an even greater extent than in Cambodia, probably because of people's high level of awareness of water-related health risks.
Building on the encouraging results of the "Phase 1" - i.e. 10,000 beneficiaries and 14 village-operators running 7 safe water micro-enterprises (the 2 other were launched in 2013 only) - we now wish to deploy the initiative in other communes of the East Coast region. This "Phase 2" represents 2 major challenges: 1/ reach more beneficiaries who will have access to safe drinking water every day and 2/ create the conditions for the whole network of stations to be technically and financially sustainable.
The “Phase 2” programme consists of setting up 18 new water stations in the regions of Analanjirofo and Atsinanana. It will start on January 1st 2014 and we are currently mobilising financial and human resources to support this initiative (50% of the funding has been secured so far). We would be delighted to benefit from the support of the BPN to fund the implementation of one of the 18 stations, and to benefit from the knowledge and expertise from its members through the PWX review process.



Implementing a 1001 fontaines station in a rural commune of Madagascar east coast

to be determined (identification among potential target communes is part of the project), Madagascar



Primary focus:
Drinking Water - Community
Secondary focus:
Hygiene Education

People Getting Safe Drinking Water


Based on 1001fontaines' experience on past projects, each new water station will serve approximately 2,000 beneficiaries after 18 months of activity, i.e. 2 years after the start of the project which includes 6 months of preparation. This means around 400 families making the choice to dedicate a part of their income to buy safe drinking water from the station on a regular basis (every 2 to 3 days). As typical target communes have 10,000 to 20,000 inhabitants, it accounts for amarket coverage of 10 to 20%.
Our objective is then to increase this number to reach at least 3,000 beneficiaries after 3 to 5 years, through targeted awareness raising and social marketing actions.

People Getting Sanitation


The project aims at improving access to safe drinking water. Although awareness campaigns are led throughout the project, improving general knowledge of the importance of drinking safe water and sanitation, it does not contribute directly to increasing the number of people with sanitation.

Schoolchildren Getting Water


People Getting Other Benefits

The implementation of each water station comes with the creation of at least 2 stable and income generating jobs for local villagers (one chief operator and one assistant), who will get trained and supported to develop their activity and improve their economic situation, while receiving recognition from their community for their social role.
At the community level, we estimate that 1,000 people will benefit from awareness raising and community involvement activities in addition to direct beneficiaries, even though they are not (yet?) customers of the station. Through information meetings, group discussions, collective visits to the station, and the opening ceremony, villagers receive health and hygiene messages and are widely consulted and listened to on how they view the service that is proposed to them and the impact it can have on their health and daily life.


Application type:
Start date:
January 1, 2014
Completion date:
December 31, 2016

Technology Used

At the crossroads between a strong social goal and a pragmatic and sustainable approach, the 1001 fontaines model is based on the following key characteristics:
• Focusing on the most vital need of providing clean drinking water. inspired by the idea that "we drink 90% of our diseases" to quote the French scientist Louis. Pasteur, our project specifically addresses drinking water needs (2 litres a day per person) versus general water needs, which include drinking, cooking and cleaning (50 litres a day per person). We can, therefore, use small and flexible water treatment facilities instead of costly infrastructures.
• Ensuring the quality of the water produced and monitoring it regularly. The quality of our water meets the highest World Health Organisation (WHO) standards and water quality is controlled on a frequent basis by the local teams, which support the village entrepreneurs.
• Guaranteeing accessibility. The price of the water produced is set in agreement with the beneficiary communities and monitored regularly to establish the right balance between affordability for the beneficiaries and the necessity for the entrepreneur to cover operating costs and earn a living. Special attention is also given to the most vulnerable to water-borne diseases, namely children under ten. Through our Sponsorship Programme, we provide clean drinking water free of charge every day to the primary schools in the villages where we have installed a water production centre.
• Ensuring sustainability through a self-financing business model. Once a production site is operational, water sales provide enough revenues to cover all field expenses. These comprise the operators' salaries, as well as a monthly fee to a local technical platform in charge of maintenance and follow up (quality control, supply of spare parts and general assistance). This ensures that each production site is financially self-sufficient and that the overall solution is durable. We have recently launched a training academy in Cambodia to provide on-going training to entrepreneurs and enable us to scale up our deployment. This training programme will also be implemented in Madagascar while adapting to local specificities.
On the technological side, our solution uses and purifies water that is available locally – water from rivers, ponds, wells - following a simple but very effective process including pre-treatment (coagulation, flocculation and settling), filtration through a sand filter followed by microfilters (from 60 to 1 micron) and then disinfection by exposure to ultraviolet (UVc) rays. Distribution is done using 20 litre containers, which are disinfected, closed and sealed, thereby guaranteeing the quality for the end-consumer at the point of consumption.
This model has proved its value for 8 years in Cambodia and 4 years in Madagascar, and although improvements are always necessary we believe it can bring sustainable improvements to the health and quality of life of rural populations. In the coming years, our efforts will particularly be focused on strengthening the entrepeneurial capacities of local operators, which is the most exciting and at the same time challenging part of the project.


The project will follow a 3 step process:
- Selecting and preparing the site in cooperation with the local authorities
- Setting up the station and training the operator - this is when most of the funding is spent
- Following up on the activity

Community Organization

For each site implemented we work closely with the local authorities which play a very important role in Madagascar. The official local partner is the commune chief and the commune council which participates actively in the project by identifying an operator for the station, setting the water selling price (in conjunction with the operator) and contributing to the initiative, generally in kind through providing a plot of land on which to install the water production unit. A contract is also signed between the local implementer (our partner NGO) and the commune in order to increase appropriation, although the ownership of the water purification facilities remains within the hands of the local implementer.
In case a problem occurs during the project (e.g. the necessity to replace the operator) the project team always deals with the commune chief.
Another key player is the chief of the "fokontany", which corresponds to the village or community level (i.e. there are approximately 10 fokontany in each commune). The chief of the fokontany and his/her assistants are the nearest local authority, which is an important social gobetween for the project. We involve them in promoting hygiene behaviors and sponsoring the social marketing initiatives around the project.
More generally, local authorities and beneficiaries are regularly involved in information and consultation meetings by the project team.

Government Interaction

Whenever possible, we emphasise building and strengthening relationships with local governments, ensuring the local appropriation of the project, as well as compliance and coherence with national development policies. A cooperation agreement between the Ministry of Water of Madagascar (MoW) and Saint Gabriel NGO (our local partner) was signed and regular meetings take place with the regional representatives of the MoW to monitor the project’s advancement.
In the context of the Millennium Development Goals, the government of Madagascar set the objective of providing access to safe water to 68% of its population, a target still far from being achieved. 1001fontaines wants to contribute to this goal and be part of the objective of the government which is to develop subcontracting with small private operators and reinforce partnerships with the private sector and NGOs (source: Government declaration on the water sector, May 2012). Furthermore, the principle of paying for water has been recognized in the water code, provided that the affordability of the service is guaranteed for poor populations.
In Analanjirofo and Atsinanana regions 1001fontaines has a valuable relationship with the regional governments, who participate in particular in the identification of priority areas of intervention and facilitate contacts with other organizations working in the same region.

Ancillary Activities

We have developed a targeted training programme - the "social entrepreneur academy” - in Cambodia since early 2012, to support the change in scale of our initiative and reinforce the professional capacities of the operators running water stations, giving them an opportunity to become real entrepreneurs serving their community. Now that the initiative in Madagascar is scaling up, it is a good time to transfer experience and expertise from Cambodia, in a domain as crucial as professional training.
The "academy" comprises about 60 modules in various domains such as water treatment, basic hygiene measures, accounting and finance, sales and customer relationship, organization of delivery, team work, self confidence, etc. The different tools and training methodologies developed in Cambodia will be adapted and reworked to meet the specificities of operators' activity in Madagascar and their local environment. We believe this capacity building component is the key to the success of our approach.
Another essential building block to make our action sustainable in Madagascar is the establishment of a local support platform responsible for monitoring and assisting all water stations. According to our approach, the platform - a team of well-trained technicians and community facilitators based in the city of Tamatave - will provide regular assistance to each station for water quality control, maintenance, spare parts supply and training, in exchange for a monthly fee that will contribute to make it self-financed after a few years.

Other Issues

Bearing in mind the difficult situation in Madagascar on a political level since the coup d'état of 2009, and its disastrous economic and social consequences, our wish is to give local communities the opportunity to address one of their most essential needs, in an autonomous and sustainable way.


Maintenance Revenue

The maintenance as well as the supply of spare parts and consumables is ensured by the local technical platform funded by the monthly fee paid by each entrepreneur once he/she has reached breakeven. This fee, which corresponds to 20% of turnover, ensures an equitable funding (the most performing sites compensate for those whose activity does not generate sufficient revenue).
The number of stations to be created was calculated according to the local needs and demand while taking account of the objective of financial sustainability of the platform and the network of stations as a whole.
In this social franchise model, ownership of all stations will remain in the hands of the platform, while the exploitation rights and revenues are owned by the entrepreneurs.

Maintenance Cost



In order to follow up on the activity and ensure that it is developing well, the main metrics which are monitored are the volumes of sales and the revenue. This helps calculate the number of beneficiaries. 1000 litres / day is the average volume of sales that allows a station to reach breakeven. Additional volumes correspond to extra revenue for the entrepreneur.
Tracking water sales enables the local platform to calculate the monthly fee and generally follow up on each site’s development. In particular, we regularly analyze the capacity of each entrepreneur to make simple investments (such as buying a new stock of bottles) as well as more forward-looking investments (like purchasing an additional distribution vehicle or hiring one more employee).
These metrics are monitored on a monthly basis by the local platform.
Following up on these metrics helps the platform identify when sites need specific assistance (organizing a group session or door to door operations to recruit new clients for example). It also provides direction for programming training activities.
All the information collected on site is uploaded in a database which features metrics for all the stations. This helps the organization improve its impact by better understanding how the projects develop in the field, which ones perform best, why and how this can be replicated to all sites. Uploading this information is still done manually by the animators but we hope to be able to leverage on mobile technology in the next few years to improve the monitoring of each project.




Treatment units: 3 704
Physical site preparation: 17 800
Personnel costs: 5 281
Logistical costs: 4 425
Management costs: 2 809
Note: The budget for implementing a station is higher in Madagascar than in Cambodia. This is due to different reasons:
- higher material and equipment costs in Madagascar,
- our decision to allocate more human resources in the early stage of the initiative in each country (following project assessment in Cambodia),
- a higher cost of hiring a qualified project manager in Madagascar.
For more information, please refer to the budget attached



No additional existing funding details are currently available.

Community Contribution


In kind: plot of land, participating to identifying the local operator

Funds Requested




Modifications from Cambodia to Madagascar
Hi there

Looking forward to learning more about your project. Can you tell me what kind of modifications or adjustments you made when transitioning from Cambodia to Madagascar? How did you select your communities? What was your criteria for selection? And can you tell us about your community entry strategy?

Thanks and good luck!
Posted by Gemma Bulos, Global Women's Water Initiative, on August 20, 2013 at 3:06pm
Hi Gemma,

Thank you for your interest and questions. About the transition from Cambodia to Madagascar, our idea was to show the replicability of our approach while taking local specificities into account. The main adjustments we had to make are about technical aspects. Madagascar being an island and a poorer country that Cambodia, the local market is not as well supplied as in south east Asia, which implies higher material costs and fewer equipment options. For example, round 20L bottle don’t exist there, so we use rectangular jerrycans, which are a bit more complicated to wash and disinfect. In Madagascar you will not find the typical motor-trolleys we use for delivery in Cambodia, either, so we had to experiment different distribution systems, using vehicles available locally. Another difference relies in population distribution in rural areas. Rural communes are larger on Madagascar east coast, so we plan to install 2 stations in some communes (run by one entrepreneur), which will involve additional business management questions.

In Madagascar local governments play a major role. This is why we select target communes according to the will of local authorities and citizens first, then under feasibility conditions such as the presence of a treatable water source, sufficient population density (i.e. at least 8,000 people living in a 5km radius around the station), roads and tracks in reasonable condition.
When launching our first stations in 2008, because the whole area was facing critical safe water needs, we presented the project to different communal authorities and targeted the most responsive. Now our action has gained a good reputation locally and some commune chiefs actually come to us. Our local team also works in collaboration with regional authorities (Région d’Analanjirofo and Région d’Antsinanana) to identify priority areas.

While beneficiary communities do not put money in the project, we request them to show their commitment by providing a plot of land for the station, and to involve in the construction of the building. Commune councils also play an important role in the recruitment of operators as well as in project promotion and awareness raising activities.

Best regards,
Posted by Hélène Lefebvre, 1001 fontaines, on August 21, 2013 at 8:33am Submitter Comment
How did your organization grow from working in Cambodia to Madagascar? Was there a local connection there already?

I'm impressed with your model of technical/financial sustainability as well as your agreement to provide water to the primary schools.

I'm curious as to why only 10-20% of people would be interested in clean drinking water that is significantly less expensive than the alternative? Is it that the others are so poor that they cannot afford even inexpensive clean water? I'd also be interested to know why the water is only for drinking? If people are still preparing food with dirty water, is clean drinking water enough to improve their health?

At one point, you mention a partnership where someone else builds latrines; will that happen in this area, too? Again, I wonder about a water project without sanitation being enough to improve health.

And, I see that you import the unit from France. How long does that take? Do replacement parts come from France as well? If so, how long does it take for parts to arrive and are they affordable given the income from the system?

Seems like a remarkable program that creates jobs and provides much needed water at very reasonable rates.

Jenna Saldana
Posted by Jenna Saldaña, El Porvenir, on August 20, 2013 at 4:03pm
Hello Jenna,

Many good questions, thank you!

We started our initiative in Cambodia in 2005, and after this first experimentation, our idea was to launch a similar project in a country with a totally different cultural context but presenting similar water needs and constraints, with the objective to test the replicability of the model. We looked at a number of countries and finally choose Madagascar because we rapidly identified a possible local partner. Indeed, “Saint Gabriel” NGO is well established in the east coast region, where they have been involved in the sanitation sector since 1999 (that year witnessed a violent outbreak of cholera in the region, which is why Brother Edwin first decided to create this NGO). Saint Gabriel share our vision or entrepreneurship as a way to make social improvements sustainable. In a number of the communes where we work, Saint Gabriel develop low-cost latrine construction and does a lot on the hygiene promotion side.

The 10-20% coverage is the level that one station has to reach in order to break even, and is achievable in a 12-month period, based on our previous experience. During this “apprenticeship” phase, the operators focus largely on the mastering of the water treatment process as well as on the creation of a customer base so as to attain financial balance and earn sufficient and stable income. In a second phase, with our support, specific actions are taken to increase the number of clients. We believe it is not a matter of price – many villagers told us our water is not expensive – but rather an education and awareness issue. As our approach is quite novel in rural areas, work is needed to explain the difference in quality between purified packaged water and water from standpipes, and the related difference in prices. You are correct to note that some households can’t afford to buy the water. We try to adapt by offering pre-paid subscriptions or by giving the possibility for people to collect their jerrycans directly at the stations so they don’t pay for delivery. And we still work on it!

1001 fontaines’ approach recognizes that reaching villages with traditional piped water systems, although obviously desirable, is a long-term strategy, mainly due to the investment cost. At the same time we believe that focusing on drinking water (2L /day /person) can significantly improve people’s health in the very short term. We like to quote Louis Pasteur, who said that “we drink 90% of our diseases”. Some of our beneficiaries buy enough water to use it for cooking too, but that does not concern the majority of them. During awareness raising activities (group discussions, meetings, cartoon display and puppet show) we insist on the fact that using water from other sources (wells or standpipes) for cooking is fine as long as people boil it long enough.

As you pointed out, the treatment unit is imported from France, as we did not find a local equivalent. The rest of the station (water storage tanks for pre-treatment and sand filters, pipes, solar panel and battery, material for the building) is sourced locally. The replacement of the different components of the treatment unit, i.e. micro-filters and the UV lamp, are replaced according to their lifetime. Replacement parts come from France, are stocked in advance by our local team and used when needed. The cost of replacements is included in the social-franchise model, by which each entrepreneur pays a monthly fee (20% of turnover) to the local support platform in exchange for services such as regular quality control, support for maintenance and replacement parts supply. In other words, an entrepreneur does not pay at the time of the replacement of a component, because this is covered by the charge he/she pays every month to the platform.

I hope I answered your points, but don’t hesitate to ask if you need clarifications.

Best, Helene
Posted by Hélène Lefebvre, 1001 fontaines, on August 21, 2013 at 9:47am Submitter Comment
Thank you so much for your detailed answers. I'm surprised and pleased to hear about a local supplier for solar. We work in Nicaragua, and there are no such options. I also like how the entrepreneur is always paying into a fund, and then the platform takes care of the repairs. Again, seems like a solid system.

My only remaining question is about latrines: is a partner organization working on those? Or do these families have some sort of sanitation system?

Thanks so much,
Posted by Jenna Saldaña, El Porvenir, on August 21, 2013 at 2:36pm
Thank you Jenna for your encouragement. Indeed we are lucky to find solar panels of good quality on local markets. And it is true that the "platform" approach has allowed us to ensure good technical maintenance as well as financial sustainability so far. Our challenge now is to reach a sufficient number of stations in Madagascar (i.e. at least 20) so the platform will be self-sustained too, through the monthly fees payed by each station.

As I mentionned in my previous reply, our local partner NGO "Saint Gabriel" (our project team is prt of this NGO) is dedicated to low-cost latrines marketing and hygiene promotion through CLTS programs. So there are sanitation interventions, including technical support to latrines construction, in the majority of the 10 communes where we have already installed a water station. Our objective is to keep on coordinating with Saint Gabriel teams so that target communities benefit from both safe drinking water and sanitation solutions.

best wishes,
Posted by Hélène Lefebvre, 1001 fontaines, on August 21, 2013 at 3:01pm Submitter Comment
Sorry I missed that in your earlier reply.

Posted by Jenna Saldaña, El Porvenir, on August 21, 2013 at 4:23pm
Maintenance and Long Term sustainability
Hello Helene,
It is clear your organization has thought through many of the challenges and difficulties that go into a project such as this. Aqua Clara, with whom I work in E. Africa, has also started several community water kiosks, using a similar model and understands the difficulties, and am therefore impressed with your thorough implementation plan with heavy involvement of the government and community.

Maintenance and replacement parts are always issues, and you have explained how this is done, and that you will have extra parts on hand.

However, i have 3 questions for clarification:
1) I'm wondering how often your filter cartridges need to be replaced, UV light replacement, and approximate costs.

2) Thinking in the long term sustainability, what would happen if 1001 office in Madagascar closed. Is there a plan to ensure that spare parts would continue to be available, even though they need to be imported?

We are facing a similar issue in Kenya and would like to learn what you are doing, which may benefit us as well. Currently we are in discussions with a larger filtration company, encouraging them to import Hollow Fiber Filters to ensure they will be available locally, IF by some chance the ACI office closes. It will also remove our need for importing as 100% of the product would then be available.

3. We also use sand filtration as a pre-filter and have not found the need for flocculation/settling. What additional benefit does this provide that sand filtration does not?

Looking forward to your response

Posted by Paul Kaufman, Aqua Clara International, on August 21, 2013 at 7:37pm
Hi Paul,

Thank you for your inputs and questions.

The lifetime of the UV lamp is 8,000 hours (info given by the manufacturer), thus approximately 5 years of utilization considering a 600L/h flow and an average 4h of production per station per day. The filters must be changed regularly, depending on the quality of the raw water that is used. On average its every 50m3 for a 25-micron filter, and 25m3 for a 10-micron filter. The cost is US$5 each.

About the pre-treatment process, I assume that your process treats water of better quality than ours! On our side, if we don’t want the operators to have to clean their (rapid) sand filters every day, we need to use flocculation and settling to eliminate muds prior to filtering the water.

Your point about long term sustainability and ownership of the project is a good one. Our plan is to secure the local support platform (which is not 1001 fontaines but a local entity) by setting up enough stations so the monthly fees they pay will cover the platform costs and allow to continue the sourcing of necessary spare parts in the long term. For now, when the local team makes orders to receive some components, 1001 fontaines act as a go between for products coming from France. As long as we’ll implement projects in Madagascar we will continue to do so (and our objective is to continue our work in this country), but imagine that we don’t, we’ll have to ensure that the platform is able to have a direct relationship with manufacturers. Of course the availability of all components on the local market would be the best option. We could also look at sourcing options in closer countries, such as Kenya as you mentioned!

Posted by Hélène Lefebvre, 1001 fontaines, on August 22, 2013 at 1:31pm Submitter Comment
Thank you for the response Helene. We also use river and lake water through our sand filters, but as you mentioned, this requires some additional simple cleaning 2-3 times per year, but also does keep our filter costs to a minimum.

If you are interested, we are working with Davis and Shirtliff, as well as Ironmongers in Nairobi. Ironmongers imports supplies from Atlas Filtri in Italy and DayLiff has practically everything...especially 10 micron and 25 micron filters as well as UV.

DayLiff also has offices in Dar es salaam, Tanzania, which may be easier for you to connect with. www.DayLiff.com If you're interested.

I like the project, so keep up the good work.
Posted by Paul Kaufman, Aqua Clara International, on August 22, 2013 at 2:36pm
Thanks a lot for the suggestions Paul, it's great. I'll definitely forward this info ot our local team so they can look at it.
Posted by Hélène Lefebvre, 1001 fontaines, on August 22, 2013 at 2:41pm Submitter Comment
Women's participation
Hi Helene

Its great to read all the questions and your feedback. I had a quick question about women's participation. Do you have a gender strategy?

Posted by Gemma Bulos, Global Women's Water Initiative, on August 22, 2013 at 1:40pm
No real strategy actually, but we encourage women to become operators in the water stations, which they do, as 5 stations out of the 10 we installed already are run by women. But the delivery of water is always done by men though, and we actually observed that the best fit is when the station is a wife/husband or dughter/father business.

As you know, women also play a great role in spreading health and hygiene messages among their communities. There are always more women attending information meetings, so we try to adapt our awareness raising actions to their demands and willingness to promote the project to better reach families.

Posted by Hélène Lefebvre, 1001 fontaines, on August 22, 2013 at 2:51pm Submitter Comment
We also have a special programme called “Water in School”, which provides clean drinking water free of charge to the primary schools of the villages in which we operate. This programme is particularly beneficial to women. The Water in School programme has proven to reduce water-borne illnesses in children, with the result that school attendance has increased and the burden of caring for sick children, which typically falls on women has been reduced.

Thanks again for the question!
Posted by Hélène Lefebvre, 1001 fontaines, on August 23, 2013 at 7:56am Submitter Comment
Further questions
Thanks for the detailed answers to questions so far and clear application, you have answered many of my questions already, however, I have a few more questions:

1. Do 1001 fontaines have a process for ongoing monitoring of the operation of the water systems, such as key performance indicators or regular reporting from operators?

2. What are the regulations around water supply in Madagascar? Who will be responsible for monitoring water quality? How often will testing carried out to ensure the water being provided is high quality and meets water quality the standards?

3. You mentioned above that you have 8000 people in a 5km area, this would suggested to me that a piped system was a viable option, have you considered this option?

4. I have also reviewed your project application for improvements to the systems in Cambodia, is there a possibility of increasing the contribution to the platforms to allow funding for potential improvements in treatment technologies? The proposed supply cost of 25 ariarys per litre seems low in comparison to the 2500 ariarys per litre with the existing bottled supply.

Many thanks,
Posted by Carys Everett, East Meets West, an affiliate of Thrive Networks, on September 4, 2013 at 10:32am
Hello Carys,
Thanks for your questions.

1. Yes, operators of every water station report to the local project team every month about KPI such as water sales volumes and expenditures. This allows to follow-up on their activity and adapt support actions. Each station is also equipped with a water meter to check that sales actually correspond to the volume of production.

2. Just as we have done in Cambodia, our current program in Madagascar includes the creation of a laboratory attached to the technical support platform that will be installed in Tamatave in order to assist existing and future water stations. This is scheduled for 2014. In the meantime (and since 2008), water quality is being tested every 3 months at the Institut Pasteur of Antananarivo, following international standards on water quality.

About national regulation, since 2008 the Ministry of Water of Madagascar and its decentralized offices are in charge of designing and implementing national policies in the field of water and sanitation. In particular, the “Code de l’eau” is an important basis for inclusion of NGO projects, and there is a national collaborative platform called “Diorano Wash” in which our local team participates regularly.

3. 8000 people in a 5km radius is the minimum required to install a water station and develop it in a viable and sustainable way. The cost for installing piped systems would be much higher considering the extent of the area.

4. You are correct, the price of the water from water stations is quite low in comparison with bottled water that is sold by local private companies. Actually, only expats and rich people can buy the 1-litre “Eau Vive”. Our objective is to provide a service of the same quality to low-income populations. Your suggestion to increase the contribution of operators to the platforms to cover R&D costs is interesting, yet it would have to be done without increasing the selling price. We can explore the possibility of soliciting operators having the best results in their activity and raise their awareness of the necessary ongoing work which must be done to improve the treatment and quality testing processes. It would also be a means to involve them in the whole initiative at the national level. Thanks for the suggestion!

Best regards,
Posted by Hélène Lefebvre, 1001 fontaines, on September 9, 2013 at 9:46am Submitter Comment
Metrics tracking and coverage
Bon Jour,

You have chosen metrics at the distribution point. How do you currently manage and track them? Do you train the operator to take stock every day and how is this data transferred to the platform? I assume that the operator is unlikely to have a computer with internet.

Would they happen to have an android phone with data?

Secondly, do you track the consumers? What percentage is using your services? You may approximate from sales, since one family could be buying 4 jerrycans. I am interested in your strategy to try to cover the entire population as a philanthropic activity. Market activities mostly focus on the sales/breakeven analysis only.

Posted by Georgia Davis, Blue Planet Network, on September 14, 2013 at 10:36am
Hello Rajesh,

Thank you for your question. The metrics are currently tracked through the monthly visits conducted by the animators. Every month, the operator fills in details of volumes of water sold, nulber of clients, expenditure and information on the quality of the water produced on a paper (he keeps track of this information on a daily basis) and discusses the results with the animator. Once the animator gets back to the NGO’s offices, he updates this data in the data base to keep track of the way the activity is developing and help the organization monitor the project.

We are aware that this system can be improved and are investigating ways of using mobile devices to track these metrics. A pilot project is being run in Cambodia where we are testing the use of android devices on sites to track the metrics we usually track manually (the pilot project is being run on 5 sites in the North of Cambodia). We are confident that this pilot project will help us improve the way we monitor our project and will be sure to leverage on any learning in Cambodia to improve our system in Madagascar. Tools such as the monitoring platform provided by PWX are also things we are looking into obviously.

Usually when we implement a 1001 fontaines station, we reach 10% of the beneficiaries after 18 months and our goal is to reach out to 40% of the villagers.
We know that because the water is sold we won’t be able to address everyone in the villages but believe that 40% is a good target. Because we know that everyone will not necessarily be willing to buy the water – at least in the initial phase – we implemented our “water in school” program which aims at providing water free of charge to children in the schools. This helps us ensure that we address the needs of the most vulnerable as well raise the awareness of families in the village on the importance and benefits of drinking safe water. This program is currently funded by donations but we hope that each operator will eventually be able to support this project if a sufficient number of clients buy the water produced. Secondly whenever possible, we discuss the possibility of setting special prices for the poorest families with the operator and the community. This also helps to reach out to a larger audience. Our goal is to go far beyond the sales/break-even point and help each operator develop the activity at best!

Hope this answers your questions and feel free to tell me if you would like more information on any of these items.
Posted by Aude Anquetil, 1001 fontaines, on September 16, 2013 at 8:12am Submitter Comment
Good governance and transparency: be severe!
Hello, no doubt that there is an enormous need at access to clean drinking water in Madagascar. It is worldwide one of the countries with the lowest access!.
The 1001 Fontaines solution is a good contribution to increase this access.

We have a double question and one recommandation on the governance issue.
1. For 1001 Fontaines as NGO. In prelimenary discussions I have asked a a question about the big amount on the accumulated profit in you balance sheet. I received an acceptable answer that 1001 Fontaines uses this money for new investments. OK. However, I will monitor over the next years If you do so, and that further accumulation of profit is not detected in you balance sheets. I repeat that for PROTOS it is not allowed to make lots fo profit by bottling water, unless it is re-invested in new projects to increase access to drinking water.
2. We know your local partner NGO-Saint Gabriel very good, since they are also our partner for our project in some quarters of Toamasina town. I I have a recommendation: be severe with them in terms of governance and financial transparency!!!
Marc Despiegelaere on behalf of PROTOS
Posted by Marc Despiegelaere, Protos, on September 25, 2013 at 10:26am
Hello Marc,

Thank you for your comment and on remaining alert on these issues of financial transparency and local governance.

Indeed working with local NGOs in the field can be challenging on these issues, and this has been the case with NGO Saint Gabriel which we both know well. Our field manager Marie Yen has been sharing a lot of the difficulties encountered with Francesca Rossi from PROTOS and trying to set up specific procedures to ensure that the funds are being used correctly in the field. We have required that our contacts at Saint Gabriel proceed to regular bank reconciliation and maintain tight control over cash disbursement. We are also currently recruiting a manager outside of Saint Gabriel and based in Madagascar who will be in charge of supervising the operations and financial aspects of the project.

We try to maintain a relationship of trust with our local partners in the field even though – as you underlined – we must remain severe when things go a little off course. This is a difficulty which we realize must be encountered by many actors working with local partners and which to our sense stems from lack of training of the local teams which is something we also try to focus on as much as possible.

As for the comment on the Balance Sheet, thank you for keeping a watchful eye. It is always useful to have critical friends to help the sector “set up” as Rajesh would say. As I had previously mentioned, I think it is important to say that we are currently not making any profit on the activity in the field, the profit which appears in our balance is actually related to funds which we have received and not yet had “time” to spend in the field. We are striving to make our model as sustainable as possible and do hope that at some point the model will be able to generate profit which will then necessarily be reinvested in projects in the field (and this is a requirement which has been stated in the statutes of the organization).

I would be happy to discuss our business model in further details if that is something that could be useful to the members of the platform and will be sure to upload our next financial statements as soon as we receive them from the external auditors.

Posted by Aude Anquetil, 1001 fontaines, on September 25, 2013 at 11:09am Submitter Comment


A very well thought out project. The only concern is the initial cost of the filtration unit, shipping costs, and continued maintenance for a machine brought in from outside. I believe these areas could be improved, and believe 1001 will improve them as they grow. Never the less, it is providing jobs, education, and clean water.

I would recommend funding this project
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This project should be supported. The Q&A brought up a lot of the knowledge that has been transferred from Cambodia to Madagascar and tweaked appropriately.

The implementation rigor needs to be backed by monitoring rigor, which is now being trialled in Cambodia. In this the entire sector historically has tried to scale and replicate based on the implementation and not on M&E. And hence it is not a surprise that globally, the results have not matched the inputs.

Since this rating also is for the Cambodia plan, i hope that adoption of good long-term M&E practices occurs sooner than later.

Good luck!
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1001 fontaines have demonstrated from previous projects that this model can work effectively in Cambodia and Madagascar. Their proposal includes community education and works with local authorities to ensure sustainability. The water platforms allow for continued support and monitoring and evaluation activities. I would recommend that 1001 fontaines review the existing proposed treatment technology and allow some funds for ongoing improvements (i.e. water odour and taste treatment technology) to be included within the operational budgets. Thank you to Helene for quick and detailed responses to questions.
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Overall, I like the thoroughness of the application and how 1001 fontaines answered each question in great detail. It shows thoughtfulness and commitment to creating a sustainable business in the rural commune in Madagascar. My biggest concerns, or perhaps lack of understanding, are in why each station is only for 10-40% of a community and only for drinking water. Like others said, I think a piped system for all users would be a better solution. Since users are buying this water, perhaps they would also contribute to install a piped system that would provide water for drinking, cooking, and bathing.
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I'd be interested to compare the challenges in implementing in Cambodia vs Madagascar.
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The project is good and their model is valuable. I hope they can scale up soon to meet their final goal in the region.
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Well thought out plan. Appears that they have learned a lot form their projects in Cambodia and improved on the process. It seems to be a good scale-able project that has the opportunity to benefit a lot of people The implementation plan brings in another form of income to a local by making them a entrepreneur. It's important that they provide education even if they aren't the ones providing the septic systems which they are.
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1001 Fontaines offers a good contribution to access to drinking water in Madagascar. I recommentd to monitor their governance and transparency on financials over the next years. And their local partner ONG Saint Gabriel must be monitored closely by them.
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