Mobi-Water gives communities real-time information on water availability at water points meaning they no longer have to search for water.
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.
MobiTech Water Solutions Ltd.
Start-Up (a pilot that has just started operating)
Annual budget in 2017 (USD)
Number of beneficiaries impacted so far
Headquarters location: Country
Headquarters location: City
Location(s) of impact
Communal Water Points play a pivotal role in ensuring access to water in Africa. By providing communities with information on real-time water availability at these water points, they will no longer spend long hours searching for water.
Jasho Letu Bio-centre acts as a water and sanitation center inside Kibera Slums, Nairobi. Since installing Mobi-Water, the water consistency has improved by 50%, thanks to the real-time information and low water warnings recieved by the operators that allows them to refill the tanks/reservoirs before they run completely dry.
Mobi-Water sensor which transmits real-time information and alarm warnings when water levels are low. The warnings allow water providers to ensure their waterpoints always have consistent and adequate water for the communities to use.
Problem: What problem is this initiative trying to address?
Access to water remains a huge challenge in Sub-Saharan Africa affecting over 600,000 people. Communities are forced to long distances and spend hours searching for water without any assurance of accessing water. In Kenya, over 17 million people rely on communal water points as their main source of water, each day they are forced to search for water from one water point to another without any reliable information on water availability.
Solution Summary: What is the proposed solution? What do you see as its most promising aspects for creating shared value?
While millions of Kenyans search for water everyday, 1 in every 3 Kenyans has access to a mobile phone. It is in this regard that MobiTech's models uses this abundant resource(mobile phones) to address the challenge of water access. We developed an affordable remote water solution that allows rel-time monitoring of water levels in tanks/reservoirs in any location. In the model we install the system at community water points and have data from the systems sent to a central database, communities are then able to get information on location of water points and more importantly the real-time water availability of water at the waterpoints using any basic mobile phone. This means they no longer have to search for water and can use any basic phone to access information on water availability. While helping the community, we create shared value because our systems also help water providers to monitor their water points and ensure they are running efficiently and remain sustainable.
Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Specify both the social and the environmental impact of your work
We are running a 1-year pilot project dubbed 'Maji Mkononi', Swahili for ‘Water in the Hand’ which involves monitoring real-time water levels in community water points in the informal settlement of Kibera, Nairobi. The pilot entails monitoring 100 community water points, building the capacity of the water point operators in water management using our Mobi-Water system as well as providing the community with information on where they can access water via an SMS Platform. So far we have installed our Mobi-Water in 5 community water points, serving up to 700 people and have seen the water consistency at the water points improve by 30-50%. This is due to the low water level alarms the operators receive directly on their mobile phones from the Mobi-Water system which prompts them to refill their reservoirs before they run dry. On full implementation, the pilot will serve over 25,000 people.
Financial sustainability plan: How is this initiative financially supported? How will you ensure its financial sustainability long-term?
Our pilot is run via a grant from Dutch NGO, Aqua for All and our own Applicant In-kind contribution. The grant caters for 80% total cost of the pilot and our applicant in-kind is 20%. The amount includes the cost of the system as well as other operational costs. Upon successful implementation, we will be able to recoup the cost of the systems, whereby, the water operators will re-pay the system costs in affordable structured installments.
Unique value proposition: What makes your initiative innovative? How does your project differ from other organizations working in the same field?
Mobi-Water is the first African SMS-Based water level monitoring solution. Our system can function in virtually all rural areas in Kenya as opposed to imported systems which are internet/ wifi based meaning it is very difficult for them to function in rural areas, in addition, our system costs 10 times less and has a running cost of less than $2. We are also the first to pilot a model where we communities are able to access real-time information on water availability on their mobile phone.
Founding story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that sparked the beginning of this initiative.
Working as an engineer in water projects in rural and urban Kenya, MobiTech founder, Kelvin, observed a lack of efficient and reliable monitoring solutions once the projects had been implemented. Monitoring systems were too costly(>$1500) and most could not operate in rural areas. With improper monitoring, water points operate inefficiently and become unsustainable over time. Communities meant to benefit from water points are forced to still search for water without any information on where to access water.
MobiTech's integrated model allows both ends of the value chain to benefit, Water Providers get real-time data and alerts on their water points and communities access information on where they can access safe water via an SMS platform.
Where did you hear about the Nestlé Creating Shared Value Prize?
Upon recommendation from others