Nearly half the world’s population is at risk from diseases caused by using contaminated water. Each year, two million people die from waterborne illnesses.*
Most of Bangladesh’s groundwater is laden with arsenic at levels that are hazardous for human health. In order to make drinking water available to the most disadvantaged rural populations, Veolia and Grameen Bank joined forces in 2008 to create Grameen Veolia Water, and developed a supply network in collaboration with residents and local government.
The project applies the principles of social business, as defined by Muhammad Yunus, to the production and distribution of drinking water. Its goal: to adapt market forces to the poorest members of the community in order to provide lasting solutions, rather than use temporary aid or subsidies that exclude the disadvantaged from the economy.
Since 2009, the project has resulted in the supply of drinking water to the communities of Goalmari and Padua. More than 6,000 residents can now use water distributed primarily through a network of 45 standpipes. With time, as the project is duplicated elsewhere, it is expected to supply drinking water to some 100,000 people.