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New models for providing water and sanitation services in Cochabamba, Bolivia

Dec 5, 2013

The Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF), a member of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Group, approved a $ 1,491,000 grant for a project with Water for People (WFP) to increase sustainable access to water and sanitation in five rural communities in the Cochabamba Department, Bolivia. More than 2,000 new homes will have access to water, and 14,000 to improve their current access to existing water services. Meanwhile, at least 250 families will access to sanitation through oriented BOP markets.

In Bolivia, only 70% of the rural population has access to safe water supply and only 23% have sanitation services. Lack of access to water and sanitation services lies not only in a lack of infrastructure, but also in the absence of a long-term strategy for providers of water and sanitation services that offer a desirable and affordable service to the poorest families.

The project aims to develop market solutions to sanitation supporting local entrepreneurs who offer these services to the communities. Throughout the entire sanitation value chain, there are market opportunities, such as the construction of toilets or pit emptying services. Based on a study, existing providers and services that may lead to potential business opportunities will be identified. The local micro entrepreneurs who develop their businesses will receive support, and at the same time, shares will be promoted to generate demand for the services that will be provided. All this, working in parallel with micro- credit products to overcome funding barriers for both companies and their customers and the development of low cost technologies to make the supply of services affordable for poor families . Special emphasis will be placed on ensuring that sanitation systems offered take into account the specific needs of women and girls.

In Bolivia, the providers of Community-Based Services are generally responsible for water systems. They will be equipped to act as utility microenterprises. There will be work done on mechanisms to ensure long-term sustainability such as micro-insurance products for systems or monitoring systems in a mobile platform.

About the MIF 

The Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF), a member of the Inter-American Development Bank Group, is funded by 39 donors and supports private sector-led development benefitting low-income populations and the poor - their businesses, their farms, and their households. The aim is to give them the tools to boost their incomes: access to markets and the skills to compete in those markets, access to finance, and access to basic services, including green technology. A core MIF mission is to act as a development laboratory - experimenting, pioneering, and taking risks in order to build and support successful micro and SME business models. More information at

About Water for People

Water for People (WTP) is a nonprofit organization founded in 1991. WFP works to build a world where all people have access to drinking water and sanitation, and where no one suffers or dies from a water- or sanitation-related disease. WFP’s mission is to partner with communities in the developing world to find permanent solutions to the water and sanitation poverty they face. WFP has been working in the water and sanitation sector in Bolivia since 1997. The organization has partnerships with the country’s main institutions, such as the Ministry of Environment and Water, the National Service for Basic Sanitation Sustainability (SENASBA), and the rural municipalities with which it has been working since 1997. More information at

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