Impact Water provide safe drinking water for schools at scale across Uganda, Kenya, and Nigeria

Before Susan Mubiru bought a water purification system for her school, Namutebi Nkata Primary in Uganda, she had to find a way to boil water for all of her 516 students. “When we used to boil it, it was never enough. The children would not always have drinking water regularly”. For Susan, and schools across Africa lack of access to safe drinking water is a huge challenge. It doesn’t just mean that children are regularly off sick from school, but unclean water is responsible for the majority of the 1.8 million annual diarrheal caused deaths. In fact, over 40% of diarrheal disease transmission can be attributed to the school environment.  

In Uganda, it is very common to boil water for purification. However, boiling is time-consuming and costly, and schools struggle to boil sufficient quantities. Many do not treat their water at all. Then there is the environmental impact, wood harvested for cooking and boiling water is one of the major causes of deforestation. The burning of wood in traditional cookstoves not only damages the environment but also negatively impacts human health.

Impact Water is an innovative social business operating in Uganda, Kenya, and Nigeria that is solving this problem at scale. They install and maintain high-performance, water purification systems which use established technologies (such as ultraviolet, automated chlorine, ceramic, and ultrafiltration) and perform effectively for decades with relatively simple, scheduled preventive maintenance.

The best part of all of this? Impact Water’s approach is working.

In Uganda, Impact Water is proud to announce it has now reached over 1,000,000 students and installed systems in over 1,860 schools in over 60 districts across Uganda.

Across Kenya, Nigeria, and Uganda, Impact Water has installed water purification systems in over 4,000 schools, impacting close to 2 million students in total. The social business has already identified other countries such as Rwanda, Ghana, Ethiopia, and Tanzania as potential target markets for business expansion.

As Deborah Nankyinga, Headteacher of St. Maria Day and Boarding schools says, “When people see the Impact Water system they say ‘Wow, that is good.’”

Impact Water operates as a sustainable business, which means that they are much more effective than a charity at solving the problem of access to clean drinking water. They are funded by the innovative venture philanthropy fund Yunus Social Business, founded by Nobel Peace Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus, which provides concessional loans to allow social businesses to grow.