Project’s extension for access to running water, fire fighting, sanitation and waste management services in the slums of Dhaka

Eau et Vie aims to improve the quality of life of Bhashantek families through access to essential services and community building

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I confirm that I am fully aware of the eligibility criteria, and based on its description, I am eligible to apply to the CSV Prize 2017.

  • Yes, I'm eligible

Preferred language

  • French

Organization name

Eau et Vie

Year founded


Initiative stage

  • Established (the solution has passed the previous stages and demonstrated success)

Annual budget in 2017 (USD)

  • $500k - $1m

Number of beneficiaries impacted so far

  • 5,000 - 10,000

Organization type

  • Social enterprise

Secondary Focus Area

  • Water

Headquarters location: Country

  • Bangladesh

Headquarters location: City

Eau et Vie has two offices in Dhaka: one in the heart of the slum of Bhashantek and another in the centre of Dhaka

Location(s) of impact

Bangladesh: selected slums of Dhaka/Chittagong (target 2021: 45,000 beneficiaries). Similar projects are implemented in the Philippines and IvoryCoast


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Problem: What problem is this initiative trying to address?

Bangladesh is the most vulnerable country to climate change, forcing people to gather in the slums of Dhaka. The rapid expansion of slums (characterized by spontaneous construction, high population density, low tenure security, high poverty rates) make the provision of basic infrastructure extremely difficult. The number of people living without access to basic WASH services is still increasing. The lack of adequate WASH facilities leads to health issues, violence, exclusion, absenteeism, especially for women&children

Solution Summary: What is the proposed solution? What do you see as its most promising aspects for creating shared value?

Eau & Vie’s model is innovative as it is based on the creation of two complementary structures located in the heart of the slum itself: 1) A social business (SJP) that acts as a local operator for water management and other basic services. It builds a water network and distributes good quality water in every house where local operators do not want to invest. 2) In parallel, the non-profit organization (W&L) allows community mobilization through hygiene awareness sessions and fire fighting trainings. The inhabitants become actors of their own development. The involvement of all parties involved in this project (authorities, communities and local operators) has demonstrated the strength of the model: running water at home, 95% of bills are paid, health expenditures divided by 3, many jobs created in slums in different countries. On the long term, this replicable solution must be taken over by local authorities, thus qualifying this model as sustainable

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Specify both the social and the environmental impact of your work

Communities: 1750 families connected to the water network (+51% of the slum); 13 public places frequented by 990pers/day connected to the water network; 3650 people participated to hygiene awareness sessions; 600 households benefiting from waste management services; 83 volunteers trained as fire-fighters and 5 fire hydrants installed; decrease of waste in the public space; 1 sanitary block rehabilitated, improvement of the inhabitants self-esteem; transfer of professional skills within the slum; 15 jobs created in Bhashantek slum; health expenditures divided by 3; reduction of absenteeism at school and work; women empowerment; declining of violence and improvement of social cohesion; saving time related to fetch water Public authorities: urban inclusion policy; reduction of corruption; change of perspectives on slum dwellers perceived as full citizens; contact and collaboration with families Water Operator: network security /water quality; Increasing of sales and number of customers

Financial sustainability plan: How is this initiative financially supported? How will you ensure its financial sustainability long-term?

SJP covers 75% of its operating expenses through income related to water distribution from 95% of families in the slum area. Revenue from 2016/2017 activities: BDT 4 720 000. W&L and SJP are bound by a service contract to support SJP in the management of the water system valued at 25% of SJP's budget. In the long term, SJP must cover 100% of its operating expenses and generate profits to ensure the continuity and stability of W&L's awareness sessions. At the end of Eau & Vie’s contract, the management of all services must be taken over by the authorities or a local operator. SJP will work through the benefits generated by the services paid by the consumers and thus will be able to retain the local jobs created in Bhashantek. Once the viability threshold of the social enterprise is reached,

Unique value proposition: What makes your initiative innovative? How does your project differ from other organizations working in the same field?

E&V's model is different and innovative for 3 reasons. First because it is hybrid (Social enterprise + NGO) allowing a comprehensive impact in the slum, economic and social. Secondly, because the 2 organizations are located in the heart of the slum, which permit daily relationships with the beneficiaries. Finally, because we play a key role of mediator between the local water operator& communities. It is an essential link in the water distribution chain, absent in the CBO model of other NGOs.

Founding story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that sparked the beginning of this initiative.

When I was working in micro-credit field in Manila, with my wife, we used to live with the beneficiaries. It has been a great opportunity to learn from them, to remind us the meaning of work. During these "immersions" we became aware of their daily realit related to the water scarcity,problem of contamination due to inapropriate storage, its excessive price ... It was a few years later, when I was running a Plumbing Insertion Business, that I reconnected and realized that these experiences could help building a solution. Then, as a result of our conversations with Valerie, co-founder, has emerged the innovative idea of a hybrid model associating a social enterprise and a development NGO. Our model shows that concrete solutions exist to sustainably improve the living conditions of slum dwellers

Where did you hear about the Nestlé Creating Shared Value Prize?

  • Ashoka page or contact

Program Design Clarity: We are hungry to know more about what exactly your model consists of. Succinctly list a) what main activities are you doing with your beneficiaries, b) where you carry out the activities? c) how often? d) for how many hours? e) who delivers the services? and f) any other brief details

Community engagement in wash services delivery is key for ensuring project sustainability. The beneficiaries are involved in a variety of key decision-making processes (e.g. on design, tariff, service area demarcation, provider selection). More specifically we use “human-centered design”. We believe that the people who face those problems every day - using unimproved latrines for example- are the ones who hold the key to their answer. To achieve this goal, all the activities take place into the slum: - W&L supports the creation of different committees involving beneficiaries: on hygiene, firefighting, sanitation, solid waste. On average they meet twice a month to discuss challenges they face and to take decisions on how to improve the implementation of activities. Their role is to represent the community on those topics with W&L but also other organizations. In the future, those committees will pursue the long term advocacy work with the local authorities and operator. - W&L also provides different trainings: on firefighting (once a week); on hygiene into the schools for children and in public places for all the dwellers (every weeks); other sessions are specifically dedicated to women (menstruation hygiene practices); on solid waste management. -Finally, the social enterprise is located into the slum: to create jobs within the communities (plumbers, collectors) and so the beneficiaries have an information access point and local interlocutor in case of emergency.

Focus area

  • Water

We are interested in learning more about your initiative's broad impact on sustainable development. Please reply ONLY to the question(s) related to your above focus area.

The UN SDG include goals such as health and wellbeing (#3), improved water and sanitation (#6) and sustainable cities and communities (#11). E&V’s projects fully contribute to achieve them with its integrated approach ranging from access to drinking water, waste management and sanitation. In Dhaka, public service providers are unable to keep up with urban population growth as they face a double challenge of maintaining the existing networks and of extending the services to the growing settlements at the peripheries. Through the engagement of the private sector -SJP- service delivery can be improved as public utilities are relieved and additional revenue opportunities are created thus contributing to a Sustainable Sanitation and Water Management. E&V’s services enable the collection and segregation of solid waste contributing to a reduction of soil pollution and thus of the ecological footprint. Slums are the main source of point source pollution (UNESCO, 2004.) This is why E&V will use simplified sewers that allow a flexible design adapted to slums. If well maintained, sewers are a safe and hygienic means of transporting wastewater. The rehabilitation of latrines based on a Biofil system (vermicompost) also contributes to reduce water pollution. Though water supply and sanitation we anticipate multiple benefits. These include better community health, fewer infections resulting in less diarrhoeal disease, and better intestinal health among children leading to improved growth.

Creating shared value: How does your initiative create value for different stakeholders?

By creating 2 local organizations (social enterprise+NGO) with sustainable processes, our projects are designed over the long term. This hybrid model allows answering the question of an exit strategy. The enterprise aims for long-term financial autonomy. In accordance with the established business plan, it must reach its financial balance after approximately 5 years. Earnings generated by the collection of bills are reinvested in the company and for the community. Gradually, they will finance the activities of the NGO. Then, begins a transition phase of 5 years in which the model is consolidated. Project personnel will provide training, transfer knowledge on the design, construction, operation and maintenance of the technologies. We collaborate with local engineers, contractors, governments and community organisations. By building local capabilities around water-sensitive infrastructure, together with our in-country partners, we hope this in-depth engagement will leave a lasting legacy

How is your initiative funded, now and over the next 5 years?

In 2016, Eau et Vie’s activities were founded by: 61% from associations/foundations;17% from the public sector; 7% from private companies;3% from subsidies/volunteering;6% loan from banks;5% from social enterprise 1% from local partners. By extending all the services to the 2nd half of the slum, the social enterprise will fully takes advantage of of economies of scale. In accordance with the established business plan, we estimate that the social enterprise will reach its financial balance in 2020 in Bhashantek and will start to generate earnings in 2021. The IRR should reach 12% in 2025. For example, the social enterprise of E&V’s project in the Philippines is generating profits demonstrating thus the relevance of this economic model.

How do you plan to influence your field of work if you are a winner of this edition of the CSV Prize?

Winning this prize will allow us to reinforce our advocacy work and to dedicate specific resources to develop a formal WASH advocacy and communication strategy. At national level it will give us the opportunity to spread good practices within the communities and convince public authorities and opinion leaders to advocate for improved sanitation and hygiene standards thus creating an overall positive environment. At international level it will allow us to participate to specialized conferences (Toilet board Coalition, Skoll World forum) to communicate about our model and results. Finally, it will allow us to publish articles in scientific reviews but also to promote our projects in social media generating thus interest of larger audiences.

How will you leverage an investment from Nestle to expand the impact of your work?

This investment will allow us to strengthen our model and to allocate additional resources on monitoring and evaluation. Evidence is essential for effective scale-up. We will use it to conduct a careful review of local conditions, to support improvements in the beneficiaries tracking system, including data needed for a funnel analysis and continuous project improvement. Partnering with the private sector will also encourage innovation for most cost-effective water supply and sanitation services. Finally it will permit dissemination of findings: the objective of Eau et Vie is not only to inject innovation but also to drive cultural shift among key stakeholders of the sector (peers, experts, public authorities and other funders)

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact? What’s the projected impact for the coming years? Are you planning to expand your programme into new locations? On what assumptions do you build your scale-up plans?

The project will scale-up from 1750 households of the 1st part of the slum to the entire slum (3,500 households) and then in other slums of Dhaka and Chittagong (2nd biggest city of Bangladesh) where SJP started a similar project in 2016. Eau et Vie’s model has already shown its possible adaptation from one context to another. The water service has been implemented in the Philippines before being adapted to the Bangladesh context and more recently in Ivory Coast. By 2020 the objective is to provide water to 45,000 beneficiaries in Bangladesh and 120,000 in the 3 countries. In the next 3 years we plan to establish a partnership with an internationally recognized University or economic research Institutethat will formalize the hybrid concept of E&V as a business case. The next step would be to create a "social business academy" targeting NGOs/social entrepreneurs in developing countries which are willing to adapt Eau et Vie’s model (learning tools, trainings and coaching).

Team: What is the current composition of your team (types of roles, number of full-time vs. part-time staff, board members, etc.)? How will this team evolve as your initiative grows?

The team is Bangladesh is structured as follows: 2 expatriates (1 programme manager W&L and 1 for SJP) with proven experience developing countries . Then all the employees are Bangladeshi (full time): 1 Civil engineer + Communication specialist + Hygiene promoter + 3 Field supervisors + 1 Training expert + 1 Surveyor + 1 Senior Accountant + 1 Fin&Admin officer + 1HR+ + 3 fee collectors + 2 plumbers. Local Board member is composed of 3 personns; The HQ team in France provides advice on any aspect of the project from in-house resources : 1 Sectoral Project Director; 1 WASH specialized Engineer; 1 senior project accountant +1 Monitoring and evaluation advisor + 1 fundraiser. The board in France is composed of 12 members from different fields (social entrepreneurs, health, Wash engineers).

Awards: What awards or honors has the initiative received?

E&V won a Fellow Ashoka contest and a scholarship (2015).E&V was also finalist of Co Creating a healthier world (2016) and participated to the forum and the contest “Convergences” (2nd place,2017). E&V also participated to the French film Festival de la Baule (4rth position,2017).This movie was also selected for the 8th World Water (Brasilia,2018)

Organizational leadership: How are you influencing your field of work in the present?

We mainly try to influence WASH sector trough policy–advocacy and campaigning. We work with our partners to gather evidence. Our objective of this project is to provide an evidence-based proof of concept that will improve slum upgrading. We then present this information to decision-makers – locally, nationally, and internationally. We also intervene as much as possible into universities (France and Bangladesh).Finally, as already mentioned, our approach is based on the communities: by creating local committees and bringing together as many voices as possible – supporters, civil society, private sectors, local service providers we demonstrate it is possible to run a social business in informal settlements and have a significant impact.

Should you be successful, please confirm your availability to attend the Ashoka Impact Boot camp and Creating Shared Value Prize Live Pitch Event at the World Water Forum 13-16 March 2018

  • Yes, I am available to attend the events on 13-16 March 2018
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Attachments (5)

2017_11_28 Article_E&V-PSEau_Projet latrines mis en page.pdf

An english version is available here :

Eau et Vie - Newsletter Novembre 2017_final EN_.pdf

Our last newsletter from november 2017, in English.

presentation 2017_WL and Shobar Jonno Pani Ltd.pdf

Présentation de notre modèle de façon synthétique (Slides + photos)


Join the conversation:

Photo of Vesna Zabukovec

What a beautiful project! it is no longer a project ! you can be really proud of what you achieved ! and there is still so many things to do in this area ! i am really impressed and love the way this organization stands in the middle of the bidonville as a facilitator.
Congrats !

Photo of Zoé Froget

Thank you very much for your comment and your support.
As you said, still many things have to be done and we are working this way...
Slums are no longer a problem, but represent a solution. This is the reason the Eau et Vie stands among inhabitants in the slum itself to help them to be part of futur urban integration plans and to improve their living conditions.

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