UPTIME GLOBAL: Supporting sustainable drinking water services for 100 million rural people by 2030
Picture caption: Financial transaction between a user and an operator of the UDUMA service in Mali, a service supported by UPTIME GLOBAL.
UPTIME GLOBAL supports operators who combine technical and economic performance and have the results to prove it
Since the 1970s, African ministries, international donors, NGOs and other backers have invested heavily in rural water projects which have all too often failed to provide long-term access to drinking water for the local people. A situation that partially justifies the gradual and steady decline in international public development aid attributed to drinking water access in rural parts of sub-Saharan Africa. “UPTIME GLOBAL strives to bring international funders back to this sector by encouraging them to fund operators who combine technical and economic performance on the ground, and who have the results to prove it,” announced Duncan MCNICHOLL, CEO of social enterprise UPTIME GLOBAL (Oxford, UK), established in the first half of 2022.
“This partnership is now in place with UDUMA to help run our drinking water service serving almost 140,000 Malians and over 350,000 Burkinabes,” enthuses Mikael DUPUIS, Deputy Managing Director of UDUMA. In this respect, every quarter UDUMA consolidates its operating results and closely tracks three performance indicators: (1) service continuity rate, (2) volume of water supplied, and (3) revenues generated. Until recently, this information was sent to the UPTIME CATALYST FACILITY Foundation, a UK charity established to demonstrate this results-based payment model for rural water services. UPTIME GLOBAL has now been established to scale up this approach.
UPTIME GLOBAL aims to support the long-term viability of UDUMA’s service supplying 2.5 million Africans by 2025
In short, UPTIME GLOBAL will subsidise a drinking water service for an amount equal to (1) 50% of the revenue the service has collected and (2) US$0.50 per m3 supplied (or US$ 50 per water point if a flat-rate payment applies), (3) if that service has demonstrated a service continuity rate of over 96%. “Drinking water services, especially in these rural sub-Saharan areas, have financial balance problems. UPTIME GLOBAL’s subsidies are therefore particularly valuable, as they consolidate and secure the sustainability of services which, with this little extra support, can hope to achieve much sought-after viability. UPTIME GLOBAL aims to support the long-term viability of UDUMA’s service supplying 2.5 million subscribers by 2025,” explains Mikael DUPUIS.
In partnership with service providers, funders, aid agencies and Oxford University, UPTIME GLOBAL now subsidises seven drinking water service providers in seven African countries: Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Tanzania and Uganda. “At present, 1.5 million users benefit from a drinking water service made more economically viable through UPTIME GLOBAL subsidies. Our goal now is to apply this model at scale to enable rural water services for 100 million people by 2030,” says Duncan MCNICHOLL.
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