One example where Water.org partners commonly differ is around the decision to either directly engage or not engage with suppliers of water and sanitation solutions. For those that choose to engage, the most common supply chains that Water.org partners engage with are piped water providers such as public and private utilities, non-networked water service providers such as borehole well contractors, and toilet builders. In addition each supply chain often has sub-components such as raw material providers (cement, sand, etc.) and input producers (squat pans, doors, rings, etc.).
When a financial organization chooses to partner with a supply chain provider, the relationship can take many forms. For instance, the financial organization can offer an optional referral service for customers who receive a water and sanitation loan. Under this scenario households are given the default do-it-yourself (DIY) option which may involve the household reaching out to various service providers and purchasing the materials themselves. Households are also offered a turn-key option which allows them to rely on a pre-qualified vendor for much of their solution. From a household preference perspective, Water.org has seen demand for both options.
Under the vendor referral relationship model, the household typically receives more assistance in the form of standardized product options, a pre-negotiated price, ensured quality, government standards compliance, post-sales support and more.
In India, one such organization that is working with financial lenders to support toilet supply and construction is Svadha Social Enterprise. By partnering with Svadha, households can receive the benefits of access to affordable products, authentic quality, product variety to accommodate different preferences and physical requirements, convenience, customization, access to accurate knowledge, and sustained support such as toilet insurance to protect a household’s investment from accidents and disasters.
In fact, Svadha is the only provider of toilet insurance in India and in partnership with Bajaj Allianz – a national insurance provider with nearly 700 offices – a household can quickly and cost effectively insure a toilet against damage from storms, floods, fires, malicious attacks, and more. If the need arises, Svadha also provides services to financial organizations that can include community engagement, micro business establishment and other holistic water and sanitation lending support services.
While some financial lenders may be uncertain about partnering with a water and sanitation service provider, Water.org has helped facilitate and underwrite several successful partnerships. Households have directly benefited from the increased level of support and lenders have benefited by knowing that loan funds were invested wisely, through decreased follow-up monitoring costs, and through assurances that households have on-going support if something goes wrong.
If you are interested in learning more about potential water and sanitation supply chain partnership opportunities and best practices, please reach out to your Water.org contact and we would be happy to help.