Innovative Funding Begets Innovative Development

Joseph Marks | Nextgov | June 28, 2013

Chlorinating water, a bug-killing intervention that the industrialized world largely takes for granted, can be prohibitively difficult in the developing world.

There’s rarely a municipal authority that will add chlorine before piping water to your home. Adding it yourself cup by cup can be extremely onerous and it’s easy to forget. The result is children in developing nations have higher rates of sometimes fatal diseases such as childhood diarrhea. When these diseases aren’t fatal, they still increase school absenteeism, ultimately lowering children’s lifetime earnings.

The nonprofit Innovations for Poverty Actions had a simple innovation they thought might fix this problem: a durable chlorine dispenser placed near rivers, wells and other sources so people could chlorinate water just once when they gathered it. The dispensers are coupled with an education program about the benefits of chlorination.

After proving itself in the field, Innovations for Poverty Action received a grant from the United States Agency for International Development’s Development Innovation Ventures program to scale in Kenya.