1001 Fontaines, Google Impact Challenge Finalist


Since 2004, the association 1001 Fontaines has been working, with the support of the Danone Communities solidarity fund, to train local entrepreneurs so that they can produce safe water to be sold for less than €0.01 per liter. This sustainable development model propelled the association into the ranks of the 10 finalists in the event organized by the American web giant, whose aim is to reward innovative projects with a positive impact on the world.


The ambitious 1001 Fontaines project began in the Banteay Meanchey Province of Cambodia, in 2004. Eleven years later, the association has earned its bragging rights, having brought a safe water supply to close to 300,000 people. This success was largely achieved thanks to the model that was applied – and then further enhanced, year after year. “The technology itself is quite simple: it involves running the water through an ultraviolet treatment before transferring it to disinfected carboys. But our model’s real strength lies in the support provided to local entrepreneurs, first with a training academy and then through monthly coaching. We invest a lot in the first 18 months, to empower them to autonomously manage their microbusinesses and operators. After that, we follow up with them monthly to assist with their accounting, technical and management questions,” explains Julien Ancele, the association’s Deputy CEO.

[…] A safe water supply to close to 300,000 people.

The involvement and recognition of the local populations has made it possible to train 135 entrepreneurs in 135 villages. By selling their water, even at very low prices, those entrepreneurs have started to earn an average monthly income of $180, which is three or four times higher than that of a high school teacher in Cambodia. 

Rolling out the model: 1001 Fontaines’ inspired strategy

Fresh from its Cambodian experience and bolstered by its partners’ backing, the association has spent nearly seven years testing its ability to replicate its model in other countries around the world. The danone.communities fund has been an ally in this adventure since 2008. It began in Madagascar in 2008, since which time 10 villages have been equipped with treatment plants run by local entrepreneurs, with another 16 under construction. More recently, 1001 Fontaines concluded a partnership in India with a large national NGO, Sulabh, and four West Bengal villages now have access to water.

The danone.communities fund has been an ally in this adventure since 2008.

As a result, “five years from now, our project will make it possible for nearly a million people to drink completely safe water, thanks to the work of 250 entrepreneurs,” rejoices François Jacquenoud, the association’s Co-Founder and CEO, in a presentation video released for the Google Impact Challenge.

Selected from among more than 200 projects, 1001 Fontaines is in the running for the last leg of the event organized by Google.org, the philanthropic arm of the American company. But only 3 out of 10 finalists will be rewarded by the judges and one by the public’s votes, with €500,000 in play, plus the guidance of Google mentors on using digital tools.

As anticipated by Julien Ancele, “If we were to win, we would use that grant firstly to build new treatment plants, bearing in mind that €500,000 would cover operations in 20 villages benefiting an additional 60,000 people, and secondly to improve our model from a technological perspective.”

Until the final results come out on October 8, 1001 Fontaines will continue to pursue its 2020 strategy: fostering Cambodia’s autonomy and inspiring others by promoting its model to major international NGOs, like it did in India.


Vote for the 1001 Fontaines project at https://impactchallenge.withgoogle.com/france2015/charity/1001fontaines!


Photo © : 1001 Fontaines

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