byMartijn Nitzsche via web
Organisation In order to run the WaterShop activities properly, we have set up the Indian company Smart Water Solutions Pvt lmt. The company is based in Ahmedabad, Gujarat and all activities run through that entity. We have hired one highly experienced Indian water expert to run the water shop activities. He is organizing meetings in the villages to explain the advantages of safe water to the inhabitants.
In all the villages the local authorities have changed and –after elections ended in Dec 2016- luckily the new Panchays are willing to continue the support of the WaterShops. Since they are in the process of defining new budgets we expect to continue setting up new shops in May.
SWS is taking care of the organization and maintenance of the activities. We have a maintenance contract with our local supplier since Reverse Osmosis plants need maintenance by specialized staff. For the scaling up we need to change our centralized model and the coming months we will adapt this business model. Probably we will introduce the franchise model because in that case we can handover some of the responsibilities to a local entrepreneur. And, also important, involve local entrepreneurs more actively to improve their empowerment and make them also responsible for the results of the WaterShops.
Current Status The water sales are improving but do not meet our expectations yet. One of the reasons for this is that 3 of the 4 villages are having limited number of inhabitants. In one village 56% of the families have bought ATM water cards but since the majority of the villagers are working outside their village during the week, water sales are not as high as we had expected it to be. Having learned from this issue, from now on we will only select villages with at least 4000 inhabitants to be able to attract enough customers.
Way forward Having obtained considerable experience in rural villages we will coming period expand our activities not only to other rural villages, but also will start testing the WaterShop concept in the peri-urban and urban environment working with different target groups and different organisations.