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Our innovative water-shop system delivers affordable and clean drinking water to rural communities in India
Jivana Vitality has established the brand "Sujal" under which a way has been developed to reliably home-deliver high quality drinking water at an affordable price to sustainably improve the quality of life of the Indian low-income communities.
Due to our efficient processes and the Swiss management skills we're applying to the Indian market, Jivana Vitality is able to provide 20 liters of quality drinking water including home delivery for the price of £0.28 (INR 25.00) – almost the same price of a one-liter water bottle in the Indian market.
Within 5 weeks since inception of the operations a base of around 250-300 customers representing a daily supply of approximately 400 campers (8’000 litres of water) had been established and 20 full-time employees were employed. We spent one and a half years in Udaipur and the before mentioned results have been successfully completed within our pilot phase.
Why would we launch a crowdfunding project if we have completed a successful business case? Well, to reach more customers it is inevitable to reach the financial means to do so. The funding goal of £30,000 will be used for a new water shop located in an industrial area called Madri in the outskirts of Udaipur. With this amount we would be able to build up a fully functioning water shop including the building, water purification machines, campers, delivery vehicles and recruitment of new employees.
However, with another £35000 we would be able to build up a second watershop situated in another industrial area in Udaipur, Sukher. The higher prices result due to higher building and rent costs in this area.
Furthermore, we think with crowdfunding we are able to give funders an opportunity to directly support local project on ground, not through big organzations or foundations.
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Steps 1 to 4 include our way to the customer. Steps 5 to 7 show the "back-office" processes.
Step 1&2: Pumping & Purifcation
We pump from any source, e.g. ground-, lake-, rainwater. In our pilot project we’re currently using groundwater from a local borewell. Around 20’000 liters of the unfiltered, pumped water are purified and chilled to the desired temperature by our custom-made reserve osmosis purification unit. Per day!
Step 3: Filling & Sealing
The clean drinking water is manually filled into previously washed and sterilized 20 liter water campers. Before loading the delivery vehicles each camper is sealed with a tamper-proof hologram in order to ensure that the campers have not been opened prior to the delivery at the customer’s facility.
By sealing every camper, we guarantee that during the transport from the water-shop to the customer's location nothing harms the high water quality.
Step 4: Delivery
Subsequently, the campers are loaded onto our vehicles and delivered to one of our 450 customer’s doorsteps. The diversity of the customer base is another proof of the quality and the price of our drinking water – farmers, small shops, temples and schools as well as large companies and banks are so far part of the Jivana Vitality story.
Step 5: Collection
The customers hand us their empty campers in exchange for full ones. Some customers just place their empty campers outside their flat, house or small shop. Due to our reliable services this works smoothly and sustainably making it as easy as possible for our clients.
E.g. On the picture below you can see our driver Laxmi Lal (on the right) collecting a camper from our client Abuhav from Abuhav Furnishing. If a camper is not empty on time when we arrive, most customers fill the remaining water in other canisters for additional use.
Step 6: Cleaning & Sterilization
Back at our water shop, the empty campers are being cleaned manually with a high-pressure washer on the outside. For the internal parts we use custom-made UV-sterilization equipment. This process kills all potential forms of life such as bacteria or viruses ensuring a high level of hygiene.
Step 7: Back to Step 1
And so the process starts again! The clean and sterilized campers are ready to be filled with our quality water supplying our customers the next day. Everyday.
Inadequate Access to Clean Drinking Water
More than a fifth of the communicable diseases such as cholera, malaria, typhoid and filarsis in India are related to unsafe drinking water and diarrhea causes more than 1’600 deaths daily. Water with high levels of fluroide causes bone weakening deaseses.
In India approximately 97 million people do not have access to clean drinking water – far more people, around 400 million, face the problem of inadequate access (i.e. irregular water supply or inconsistent water quality).
Furthermore, roughly 60% of the population is living with an income of less than USD 2.00 per day. In order to meet their daily requirement of drinking water they would be forced to spend over half of their daily income! This desperately calls for a viable alternative and an innovative solution.
In Rajasthan water availability is one of the if not the main concern faced by many families. Usually women and school children are responsible for sourcing water. This forces them to waste a lot of time and energy on long distance walks for a process which could be easily done by Jivana Vitality.
The picture below shows fountain water close to a mining area in the outskirts of Udaipur.
Jivana Vitality actively counteracts these unacceptable conditions by ensuring clean drinking water for our customers and promoting a healthy lifestyle – solving the water problem in India with a proven track record and more efficiently than most development organizations with their water sponsorship programmes. Our water shops hold the potential to implement effective, verifiable and sustainable social change and the chance to significantly improve the livelihoods of the Indian population.
Besides working together with local businesses and private households, we are especially happy to call local schools in Udaipur to our customer base affecting the lives of the most vulnerable in a sustainable way. Our widely diverse customer base reflects our three core values "Reliability. Quality. Affordability." in a most-relevant way.
Moreover, our water shop has created local job opportunities for 20 permanent employees, most of which do not have any educational background and are without prior experience of a regular paying job. By that, Jivana Vitality is creating sustainable employment in the region and helping many poor families to deal with their daily needs.
Below you can see Ishwar, 20 years old, (second on the left) with his family. He is one of our first employees and has shown his loyalty through his hard work and reliable skills!
Pascal, Yves and Patrick together with Kamaljeet, a local student, and a NGO-offical on a fieldtrip outside Udaipur. – March, 2014.
We Pascal Riboni (first left), Yves Suter (second left) and Patrick Schlatter (first right) have developed the idea of the water shops during our studies at the University of St. Gallen. After our Bachelor's degree, we have decided to live and work in Udaipur (Rajasthan) for one and a half years. During our stay we have been able to gain valuable ground experience of rural and semi-urban India and have achieved the proof of concept in the process of it to realize that the water problematic in India is far more serious in reality as we had expected – from governmental water conduits supplying “contaminated” water as far as water projects from development organizations that have never achieved the promised results or were completely abandoned after the initial investment.
Pascal and Yves together with our local manager Nishant Mehta on a location viewing for a new water-shop in Udaipur. – August, 2016.
The one and a half years in Udaipur have helped us to not only understand the local issues, but also to find ways to solve them. Furthermore, our ground experience in Udaipur and the development of an innovative idea into a functional business prepared us for the next step - scaling.
Patrick at the "Up-Effect" video shoot in St. Gallen, Switzerland. – July, 2016.
Moreover, partnering with Prof. Dr. Roger Moser, assistant professor at the University of St. Gallen, director of the ASIA CONNECT Center and India Competence Center helped us to gain access to a vast network and allows us to benefit from his experience in India.
We can proudly state that Ram Mohan Naidu Kinjarapu, Member of Parliament in the House of the People is fully convinced of our project and offered his support. MP Kinjarapu was elected in 2014. The former businessman is one of the youngest Members of Parliament in India and has responsibilities in the following commitees: Home Affair, Ministry of Tourism and Culture, Committee on Welfare of Other Backward Classes and the Official Language Departement
Our passion and enthusiasm is amongst other things underlined by the acknowledgment from the Swiss Embassy in India with the Swiss Ambassador’s Award 2016. We are very happy to announce that we have been honoured with the Swiss Ambassador's Award 2016 in Delhi. A big thank you to all of our partners, friends, and family who have supported our undertakings ever since. What has started as a seemingly outrageous idea in a course at the University of St. Gallen has materialised over the last three years and led to our first act of publicity at the SAA 2016. The support and positive vibes towards our project were truly amazing. We are deeply honoured to receive this kind of recognition. Thank you all.
Furthermore, we have received recognition from the PHD Chamber of commerce and Industry in Delhi with the Award for Outstanding Contribution to India’s Water Sector. On March 22nd, 2016, we received the Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Water Sector of India by the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Delhi. The event was supported by the Ministry of Water Resources of India.
This award makes us very proud and very well displays that our engagement is appreciated not only by the customers we are serving but also by the authorities governing the country in which we operate.
Thank you so much for this honour!
What is our product/service?
With our “Water Shop Concept” we allow for the purification and home-delivery of clean drinking water on a daily basis to households, businesses, and institutions in semi-urban and rural India – for the price of £0.28 (INR 25.00) per 20 litres, almost the same price of a one-litre water bottle in the Indian market. Through simple processes we have been able to integrate locals with low to none educational background into our workflow and manage reliable last-mile delivery of clean drinking water. We treat/purify the input water with a custom-made reverse osmosis (R.O.) purification unit. The R.O. unit allows the treatment of any kind of water source (i.e. ground water, surface water, government supply, etc.) and currently has a capacity of 20’000 litres daily. Following the purification process the drinking water is chilled to the desired temperature and manually filled into the previously washed and sterilized 20 litre water campers (isolated). Before loading the delivery vehicles each camper is sealed with a tamper-proof hologram in order to ensure that the campers have not been opened prior to the delivery at the customers facility. Each water shop can deliver up to 1’000 water campers daily within a radius of approximately 10-15km. Our customers generally pre-order daily drinking water on a monthly subscription and pay at the end of the month for their water deliveries (30 days on credit). They are ensured high quality drinking water on a reliable basis at affordable costs.
What is the current market situation?
In India alone, over 300 million consumers and over 10 million small businesses reside in semi-urban and small towns, and the majority of people live in rural areas. These are the same consumers who are the most likely to be denied access to clean drinking water on a regular basis. Over 60% of the Indian population has to live of less than $2 per day. To reach the daily water requirements with bottled water over half of this income would have been used. This forces many Indians to used unreliable watersources of minor quality. Bottled water is not an option! How is the situation for camper water?
The market for water supply is vast but only locally served by individuals and small companies with no management skills, unable to operate cost-efficiently, and to provide high quality of water and reliable delivery of the same. While big players concentrate on the high-margin bottled water market, few players focus on the water camper market, while none of them is able to enforce affordable prices and clean drinking water at the point of use. The highly informal market and the lack of regulations or hygiene standards desperately calls for a professional and reliable water supplier. Water can function as the connecting element to a large untapped market due to the fact that it is one of the few commodities all customer groups require. This is best represented by the wide diversity of our customer base – to mention a few: government schools, hospital, small households, farmers, large companies i.e. Reliance or Airtel, etc. Unable to handle the last-mile logistics and the prevalent difficulties of employing reliable staff make it impossible for local competitors to compete with us. We have been able to outperform local competition on all three dimensions – the quality of the drinking water at the point of use, the reliability and affordability of our services. Our access to and the daily interactions with the population of one of the largest and widely untapped markets hold enormous potential and opportunities.
What is our unique selling propsition (USP)?
We are able supply high quality drinking water on a reliable basis, ensure its quality at the point of use, offer our services twenty times cheaper than bottled water and below the market norm of camper water (average market price in Udaipur is roughly INR 25.00-35.00). Our brand Sujal (=positive, healthy water) embodies our core values and creates security and orientation among the customers, which is absolutely essential in an unregulated market. Through the logistics software, which is currently under development, we are able to centrally manage and control all water shops from planning the routes, order and stock management, the employee and vehicle administration to the billing and monitoring with KPI’s. With an Indian partner we will be able to GPS track all the vehicles, send delivery notifications and even calculate the most efficient delivery routes automatically. This will bring another level of transparency and efficiency constituting the backbone of scaling our operations across India. Jivana Vitality brings Swiss operational excellence to the (rural) Indian context. By leveraging our international and local network we can flexibly adapt to changing market environments and develop innovative solutions for a market most companies are denied access to. Since we have spent 1.5 years in Udaipur we are not only aware of the daily problems the local population is facing, but also capable of solving the same.
How will you reach potential customers?
Mouth-to-mouth propaganda works extremely well in semi-urban and rural India. In other words, it is key to build and maintain a strong brand. However, with the introduction of the logistics software we will also initiate a customer mobile application (in order to “geotagg” their location due to the missing addresses, to order drinking water and to share billing information). The mobile-phone penetration in the productive age-group (18-50) is very high (> 80%), and today smartphone penetration is on the rise as citizens trade feature-phones for data- enabled smartphones.
Coming from a business driven background (university- and work-wise), we have decided to follow a more social and furthermore profoundly sustainable approach. What we soon realized was: without the right people you are nothing. From our perspective, we want YOU out there to get the chance to support our project with the highest impact possible. Crowdfunding gives us the chance to immediately use the gained resources for soon-to-be water shops. You can make it happen to serve more people with water they deserve.
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