François Jaquenoud

1001 fontaines pour demain
Year founded: 

1001 fontaines implements low-cost, solar-powered drinking water solutions for rural villages.

Focus: Water
Geographic Area of Impact: Cambodia, Madagascar
Model: Hybrid Non-Profit
Number of Direct Beneficiaries: 70,000 (2011)
Annual Budget: US$ 700,000 (2011)
Percentage Earned Revenue: 12%
Recognition: Social Entrepreneur of the Year, Asia, 2011

Around the world each year, 1.6 million children under the age of five die because of water and sanitation problems. Rural villages of Cambodia experience up to 20% infant mortality rate, in large part due to the consumption of unsafe drinking water. Major water distribution systems across the developing world require immense infrastructural investment and support and still leave millions of rural people excluded. 1001 fontaines provides a solar-powered alternative that provides safe and affordable drinking water.

Innovation and Activities
Using solar-powered ultraviolet (UV) technologies, 1001 fontaines establishes water purification and distribution networks in Cambodia’s rural villages, allowing people to meet a basic need for a minimal investment. Unlike conventional potable water delivery, 1001 fontaines’ model incurs no distribution costs and offers the amount of drinking water necessary to match village needs, and thus offers clean, purified water at just US$ .01 per litre, which is affordable for rural Cambodian villagers.

At each site, 1001 fontaines provides the initial capital investment and subsequently trains one to two village operators in purification technologies and distribution methods, thus creating micro-franchises across the region. All operational expenses after the initial investment are covered by sales at the point of distribution. Thus far 1001 fontaines has generated more than 100 jobs in rural villages and actively leverages community networks to spread awareness about the necessity of clean drinking water and the health risks associated with swamp water.

1001 fontaines has established 58 production sites in Cambodia and 11 in Madagascar, providing 70,000 customers with affordable potable water and ensuring better health for villages.

The Entrepreneur
Lo Chay was born in a small village in northwestern Cambodia and attended school in Phnom Penh through the aid of a French scholarship program, Enfants du Mekong. He graduated from the Cambodian Institute of Technology and went on to study in France, receiving his Master's as an Engineer of Water Management from l’Ecole Nationale du Génie Rural des Eaux et des Forêts (ENGREF). During his time at ENGREF, Chay was trained on many small-scale drinking water network projects, which led to his design of a pilot project in Cambodia and subsequently to the creation of 1001 fontaines.

François Jaquenoud is a former Accenture partner who, at the age of 52, decided to use his experience and skills for the service of rural villagers.