I am a social entrepreneur at heart. I love working for the greater good and see opportunities for growth where ever I go. This side in me truly manifested itself over 4 years ago, when I joined a large student volunteer organisation called Teto to improve the livelihoods of people living in Brazil’s favelas. Here I developed a deep appreciation of how talented people living in slums can be and how unconventional methods such as social entrepreneurship could enable a brighter future where other methods have failed.
You raise a very good point regarding treatment of contaminated water. For that reason we have integrated this solution within a school setting rather than a straightforward testing service industry. As part of our education platform Madanyu we seek to provide known and tested DIY solutions based on the test results gathered. The microscope images provide valuable insights on the type of contamination we are dealing with, allowing us to narrow down the potential solutions for water treatment which can either be locally established (clay pot filters) or flagged to NGOs and Local Governments as necessitating external interventions (chemical treatments).
Regarding the financials, our solution is in general low cost, however the upfront fee is significantly higher than the maintenance cost. For the capital expenditures we seek the support of local government and NGOs as a one-time fee with ongoing returns in terms of impact for them. The donor organisation would be easily able to track their impact by seeing the number of tests that continue to be done each year thanks to their initial support. The schools embed this solution as part of their teaching curriculum which equally provides ongoing educational benefits and justifies the small maintenance fees over time.
I would love to discuss this further with you and hear your concerns and business solutions on this matter. So feel free to reply back here!
Dear Craig, I really like your extension idea to link our data mapping services to an app that will make it easy for people in the vicinity to see water quality and request tests. A full supply and demand cycle in that sense. Many thanks for sharing this!
Dear Derek, many thanks for these suggestions! Indeed we are driven to create jobs locally and have already spent much time providing local capacity building to manage and maintain the equipment. Regarding production, we are going through how best to enable this - either licensing as you suggested or even putting the prints into the open-source domain and link to our platform for rapid water testing as a digital service. We are interested in the experience and recommendations by water.org, and expect to find a way that is supportive of the local communities to fulfil our social mission.