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Investments

Drinkwell

  • LocationBangladesh
  • SectorWater
  • Type of investmentConvertible loan
  • Project stageTest & Transition

A social enterprise aiming to provide access to affordable and clean drinking water for millions of underserved urban customers for the first time. Through Water ATM-enabled systems Drinkwell’s solution has the potential to improve the lives of low-income urban slumdwellers in Bangladesh where there is a low rate of piped clean drinking water.

Drinkwell

The development problem

Drinkwell’s typical end users face multiple challenges. In the urban markets where GIF’s investment into Drinkwell will be focused, faecal coliform is the primary impurity found in water. Urban customers often have to pay elevated prices for water from either informal “middlemen”, who deliver water in unhygienic containers; or informal pump operators. In both scenarios collected water often contains multiple impurities, including over-concentration of certain heavy metals like iron and harmful bacteria. As a result, the water must be boiled before consumed, a task that is disproportionately performed by women and girls.

The innovation

A combination of patented purification technology, filtration, and pay-as-you-go cards underpin an easy-to-operate turnkey solution. Each system serves between 200–2,400 households, employs 1-3 people, and lasts for at least 10 years.

GIF's investment

$500,000 convertible loan.

With GIF’s investment Drinkwell will work towards installing over 200 systems with the Dhaka Water Supply & Sewerage Authority (DWASA), the utility in charge of water and sanitation in Bangladesh’s capital.


Why we invested

Drinkwell has scaled its innovative systems as part of a unique partnership with some of the leading water utilities in Bangladesh and India; and aims to provide safe drinking water to 5,000+ villages and urban areas, impacting five million people by 2020. The innovation is solving a major global crisis affecting millions of people living on less than $5 a day in a strategically important sector (water) and region (South Asia) to GIF.

Drinkwell also provides data for water utilities to take advantage of, to enable measurement of end user activity at each dispensing point, which has previously been untracked. This data can inform ways to improve public service provision. The data can also enhance service delivery and its impact, through gender-disaggregated information on end-user water access, water consumption patterns and payments.

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