Project Maji provides solar-powered water solutions to accelerate sustainable access to safe water in rural sub Saharan Africa. Every dollar invested in improved water and sanitation services in rural areas yields an average return of $7.00 in reduced health care costs and economic productivity. Women, who are primarily responsible for water collection in their communities, are exponentially more impacted by access to safe water.
Rural water sites fund their own operations via payment from users, but the capital to build them requires significant time and effort in fundraising. Project Maji is piloting a for-profit “growth center” in a suburb of Nairobi and considering additional locations where water infrastructure has not kept up with urban development. The long term goal is for these larger, for-profit franchises to fund water solutions for smaller, rural locations with limited resources.
Project Maji currently provides water to 250,000 people in rural communities and seeks to expand their impact to over one million individuals by 2025. In efforts to help them scale their growth, KIN facilitated a Catalyze Session bringing together leadership at Project Maji with eight social impact experts from across the world with experience launching franchises internationally and establishing social enterprises in sub Saharan Africa. The session ended with Knowledge Partners committing to reviewing franchise agreements, assisting with navigating the Kenyan legal system, and providing on-the-ground assistance to expand within Ghana and Zimbabwe. The group of Knowledge Partners agreed to come together three months later following the session to examine progress and address new questions about the implementation of the Nairobi growth center.