Drop of water.
Bringing clean water around the world. Photo: Pixabay.

Uptime expands funding to provide clean water in rural areas around the world

More than 4 million people will benefit from the initiative.


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The Uptime Catalyst Facility, a company that designs and provides results-based financing to keep clean water flowing for millions of rural people around the world, recently announced the arrival of seven new service providers on results-based contracts, a move that allows the company to double the size of its operations and support rural water services in 12 countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Partnerships there include a continued commitment to fragile areas, such as Mali, Burkina Faso and Nicaragua.

What's the initiative?

Established as a UK charity, Uptime Catalyst Facility, develops and runs innovative results-based contracts to sustain rural drinking water services at scale, piloting conditional grant payments to reliable such services and where users pay a part of the costs.

“We see an opportunity to transform the reliability of rural water services at scale, and expanding results-based contracts through the Uptime Catalyst Facility provides the chance to demonstrate what is possible in practice,” highlighted the firm

$1 million has been disbursed by the organization since 2020 to support services for about 1.5 million people at a cost of less than $1 per person per year, with users contributing about a third of the maintenance costs of 4,000 points of water that work more than 96% of the time.

A new challenge

The results-based financing used by the Uptime Catalyst Facility serves to fill the remaining gaps between operating costs and revenues to maintain water services.

The organization says that regardless of climate shocks and economic uncertainty, its directed financing model, combined with user payments, can ensure that water continues to flow, especially in rural areas.

With this new global expansion, the firm projects that water users will contribute approximately $2.5 million to services in 2023.

“Participation in results-based financing mechanisms can be a game-changer for small water enterprises, allowing them to access the resources they need to grow and improve the services they provide to their communities. The Uptime Catalyst Facility is unique in that it directly addresses barriers to scale and helps implementers demonstrate impact, ultimately providing a clear path to sustainability and growth while improving access to safe and reliable water for communities,” said Kurt Söderlund, Safe Water Network CEO.

Strengthening limited public resources

Through a call for proposals to a diverse group of rural operators and financiers to study sustainable rural drinking water financing globally, the Uptime Catalyst Facility hopes to learn from every contract to transform the way governments ensure sustainability of drinking water at scale.

“Results-based payments linked to verified service metrics could help limited public resources to effectively deliver on the SDG of universal drinking water services by 2030,” explained the company.

For his part, Nabil Chemaly, Senior Program Officer at Hilton Foundation Safe Water Initiative, said: “A great challenge in achieving safe water services in rural areas is the lack of capacity to provide professional and reliable services according to well-defined metrics. We are excited to partner with the Uptime Catalyst Facility to provide reliable water service provision to rural communities in Ghana, Uganda and several other countries worldwide through the use of result-based contracts.”


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