Sustainable business models are vital to long-term impact. Thanks to funding from the European Union, Solvatten is exploring partnerships and models to serve a new market: small-holder farmers in agri-business value chains in East Africa. The positive health, well-being and financial benefits Solvatten users and families gain from the innovation are well-documented, but continued use also frees up time and availabilty to focus on more productive activities. One group Solvatten targets is subsistence farmers in the agribusiness chain. Off-grid small holders can reap productivity gains and product quality improvements from using Solvatten, thus increasing their net-income and their families’ health and well-being. With a view to serve this market sustainably and profitably, we are undertaking product innovation to respond to market’s needs and are exploring B2B distribution models that deliver shared value.
Petra Wadström was awarded to Woman of the Year 2015 by women network SWEA International. The jury states that Petras creativity and her philanthropical spirit makes her a shining example. Read more about it here:
We are urgently looking for a volunteer creative director/art director that can do a few hours of graphic work for Solvatten’s new campaign site and more!
Last month we visited Meru in Kenya to see first-hand the impact Solvatten is having on people’s lives. Whilst there, we met Martha Gitau and sister Nancy, running a Community Based Organisation (CBO) aimed at empowering local women. The CBO helps the women purchase Solvatten in affordable installments. The first shipment of Solvatten arrived in 2010 and are still being used today.
Highly effective water treatment
This is just one of many examples that demonstrate Solvatten is a cost-effective solution that is cared for and valued by its users. Water, sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) specialists often talk about the three C’s that affect change for vulnerable people and achieve positive health impacts: Correct, Consistent and Continued use.
We can see all of these at play in Meru: People are using Solvatten correctly and consistently, as reflected by the vast reduction in water related illnesses experienced by the community. Continued use is clear because people are using their Solvatten units five-years after receiving them, while the number of users continues to grow.
Product design important for continuous use
Continuity and training help to build trust and enthusiasm, but it is vital that users value the product if it is going to be a long-term solution. The Solvatten units are helping the women of Meru develop new skills and self worth, whilst enjoying safe, warm water. One of the users of Solvatten commented proudly “It makes me look smart!”, whilst explaining what Solvatten means for her.
We are studying how the impact of Solvatten is of help to families with malnourished children in the Kakuma Refugee camp. One initial observation is that because of the strict rations of fuelwood, it is now easier for families to prepare the micronutrient powder, corn porridge and formula provided by the UNHCR, WFP and IRC. Since Solvatten treats and heats the water to +55°C the beneficiaries could instantly grasp the benefits of heating water without using traditional fuelwood.
Household water treatment and heated water improves hygiene practices which is important to prevent malnourished children from falling sick. There is a clear relationship between diarrheal disease, soil-transmitted helminths and malnutrition: A WHO study concluded that as much as 50% of childhood underweight and malnutrition could be associated with repeated diarrhea or soil-transmitted helminth infections. The availability of safe, warm water has the power to prevent it from happening.
During 2015-2016 a selection of families with malnourished children will be monitored to further verify these findings.
STOCKHOLM – Swecare and the Swedish Health Initiatives group are hosting a seminar today to discuss innovative approaches to solving global health issues and the challenges faced in scaling these up. This forum is the first to be held as part of a new initiative created by a number of Swedish health companies, institutions and organisations, who are collaborating for new approaches to tackle major health challenges; through innovation, investment and action on a global scale.
Finding solutions to the health issues identified by the United Nations
The Millennium Development Goals, agreed to by all the United Nations member states, are due in 2015. Out of the eight goals identified, numbers four and five, relating to maternal and child health, are not likely to be met. Still only half of pregnant women in developing regions receive the recommended minimum of four antenatal care visits. According to the World Health Organisation, around 6.3 million children under the age of five died in 2013 mainly due to preventable diseases. This staggering figure is, according to the UN’s own estimations, 2.1 million away from the Millennium Development Goal and will take several additional years to reach. More work thus needs to be done and fresh approaches implemented. Social innovations and innovative partnerships are necessary to tackle these complex challenges. A holistic view must be taken, looking at different perspectives of health including e.g. water, vaccination, sanitation and animal health. Sweden has a long tradition of systems thinking, as well as of innovation and entrepreneurship. We are thus well positioned to develop and scale up social innovations in healthcare, water and sanitation.
Swecare and the Health Initiatives group (HIG) strongly believe that innovation is necessary to tackle the issues facing countries with scarce resources, and thus launched this seminar focused on what can be done to accelerate development and support roll-out of low-cost, innovative solutions in underserved areas, for example in Sub-Saharan Africa. The initial discussions have focussed on maternal and child health, and how Sweden through these innovations and approaches can contribute to the attainment of global health goals.
An open invitation
Scalability of individual local health projects in developing regions often face a quagmire of institutional obstacles due to a lack of broader regional strategy, which ultimately limits their success. As a response to these obstacles, the constituents of the HIG are aiming to shine a light on innovative approaches to multifaceted global health challenges, implement a wider cooperative focus and develop a stronger network of knowledge sharing and support, including national stakeholders who wish to join hands to improve health on a large scale. The seminar, which hopefully will be one of many, will set the stage for this initiative and is an open invitation to others looking to achieve meaningful and long-lasting positive effects in the attainment of sustainable improvements in health for people in low-income countries.
The ambition of the Health Initiatives group is to share knowledge across sectors, thereby serving as a facilitator which not only can help provide a positive impact on health related issues where it is most needed in the world, but also contribute to job creation in these and related support areas as well as opening new markets for Swedish companies active in the health and sanitation area.
For more information on the seminar please visit: http://www.swecare.se/Swe/KALENDER/PageId/EventDetails/EventId/67?EventStartDate=3%2f16%2f2015+12%3a00%3a00+AM&EventEndDate=3%2f16%2f2015+11%3a59%3a00+PM
What we can do to accelerate development, introduction, and spread of social innovations in healthcare: http://www.siani.se/event/innovation-impact-new-approaches-global-health-challenges/march-2015
Swedish Health Initiatives is a group of organisations that have been meeting during 2014 with the purpose to find ways to collaborate, find synergies and scale up innovations geared towards impact and attainment of global health goals. The group consists of the following organizations: ActionAid, IKARE, Karolinska Institutet, Peepoople, Shifo, Solvatten and Swecare.
Come join us!
SLU, the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences recently published a cost benefit analysis of the socio-economic effects from implementing household water treatment in rural India. Erik Boije and Gustaf Eskhult (Agricultural program- Economic’s and Management) conducted the study based on the performance of three technologies: Solvatten, Elextrolux Oxy3 and Airwaterwell in the regions Gujarat, Harayana and Uttar Pradesh. The cost efficiency and social impact numbers of Solvatten outperformed the alternatives by far. The social impact factor obtained from the study was 1:36. With a 36 times the investment, it makes a lot of sense for a subsidy to be put in place to help an indian household gain access to the Solvatten solution.
The online publication can be found here: http://stud.epsilon.slu.se (no833 ISSN1401-4084)
This video from Kakuma, Kenya is produced by the international NGO Norwegian Refugee Council who uses SOLVATTEN, in a safe water project for vulnerable households.
This year we invite you to participate in a fundraise for the people of Turkana in north Kenya. Life in this arid region of Kenya is harder than most of us can imagine. Here, every day is a struggle for survival. Our partner organization the Norwegian Refugee Council, NRC has conducted a baseline study in the region and it found that less than 35% sourced their water from public water supply points. The risks for catching water related disease is significant and many children fall ill during their childhood in this chronically poor region. But SOLVATTEN can really help here.
We ask for your help to reach this years target and send 72 SOLVATTEN to the families of Turkana. Donate here and we will send you 10 digital SOLVATTEN postcards from Turkana!