Child health Can we buy social impact?

It’s estimated that an extra $2.5 trillion of funding will be needed each year in order to achieve the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.

11 Apr 2018

Access to clean drinking water is a critical issue in Uganda, as is the case across sub-Saharan Africa.
Unfortunately, schools are often a source of waterborne disease transmission, where adequate supplies of safe drinking water are either non-existent or inadequate. In fact, 40% of diarrheal cases are attributable to transmission in schools rather than homes.

Impact Water is a social business that is dedicated to tackling this issue by scaling safe drinking water solutions in developing countries. In Uganda, the social business sells, installs and maintains environmentally-friendly UV-based water purification systems to schools on low cost, multi-year credit terms. This helps schools to limit waterborne diseases among children (reducing the number of sick days per year), while avoiding burning firewood for boiling water and therefore offsetting CO2 emissions.

As a social business, it is difficult for Impact Water to raise appropriate financing. Due to focusing on a high-impact but low margin market segment, they are a less attractive target for commercial capital, meaning scaling is much more difficult. This is why we developed the SSN.

The SSN is an innovative financing instrument that aims to tackle access to finance by fully aligning the interests of the social business to those of their investors, while harnessing the power of a pay-for-success mechanism. Impact Water will use investment capital from UBS Optimus Foundation and Outcome Payments from the Rockefeller Foundation to increase the scale of its impact to provide 1.4 million children with clean water over the next 5 years.

You can find more information about the Social Success Note here (PDF, 4 MB).

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