Since 2016, Access Development has provided access to safe water for 56,100 people under a pilot supported by the Wassa East District Assembly, World Vision, The Hilton Foundation, Netherlands Enterprise Agency and Water4. Access Development cut its operational costs and increased revenue as it expanded coverage to communities within the primarily rural district. Now on a financially sustainable footing, the business is prepared to scale operations to cover the rest of the district, including 20 healthcare facilities and 80 schools, using a branded approach called NUMA. The inclusive, district-wide strategy will improve health outcomes by reaching “last meter” customers and will enable a cross-subsidy between lower and higher density areas to balance the dual objectives of equity and financial sustainability.
Access Development Director, Yidana Mahami, sees his business at a turning point, “By providing high-quality and convenient NUMA water services, we are realizing mutual benefits for our community and our business. Investing in Wassa East has prepared us to go universal in a second district, where we hope to operate on a fully commercial basis.” Hangen wants to see this experience and that of other SWEs inform how countries fill the 2030 water financing gap, saying, “The global lessons shared at Stockholm are critical for Water4’s ability to roll out a district approach in Sierra Leone and Zambia.”
Water4 is a US-based non-profit organization that starts and scales social enterprises that deliver safe water to the underserved. Founded in 2008, Water4 has been partnering with both wholly-owned subsidiaries and independent owner-operators that sell safe water on a for-profit basis. Local partners are continually empowered to improve their performance and achieve financial viability so they can expand access to a growing customer base. To date, more than 1.3 million people have been provided with access to an improved water supply through Water4 partnerships.