A Case Study on a Social Enterprise Approach in Nepal
By Lilian Lehmann
Access to safe water is central in the fight against poverty and to the achievement of the UN Millennium Development Goals. Thus projects and technologies for household water treatment are numerous. This thesis examines the Antenna Technologies Geneva WATASOL approach to safe water through chlorination, and reviews its strategy based on pilots begun in Nepal. These pilots consist of setting up social enterprises to market chlorine to the Base of the Pyramid population. The WATASOL model finds itself at the intersection of several significant trends, both in the private and in the public sectors, toward bottom‐up, financially sustainable interventions seeking to create positive behaviour change.
The pilot projects spearheaded by the two non‐profit organizations ECCA and VSBK in Nepal have shown that the WATASOL chlorine reaches the economic Base of the Pyramid. There is a willingness to pay among consumers and the technology should lend itself well to the creation of a sustainable venture. The option of creating a micro-franchise system around the technology to scale up is examined. While micro-franchising is an appealing possibility, scaling up is currently a premature phase in the case of the social enterprise pilots in Nepal.