The goal of 300in6 is a massive upscaling of safe water, to optimise the health and well-being of the individual, the family and society in achieving sound human development.
We recognise that, as the most pressured of key material resources on the planet, water will never be safe again for most humans – unless it is treated and purified until consumption.
Our history: The first six years
The original mission of 300in6 was to further energise the emerging sector of household water treatment and safe storage (HWTS). Created in 2009, it became operational in 2010.
300in6 adopted its heart’s desire as its institutional name. This was to double, to 300 million, the number of people who would gain, and maintain, access to safe water through HWTS in the six-year period to end-2015, the achieve-by date of the UN Millennium Development Goals.
Now: the nexus for the upscale
Now in its sixth year, 300in6 has matured into a strategic centre for the safe water scale-up, and a rich hub of knowledge, solutions and opportunities.
The notion of HWTS is now seen, not as an end-goal, but as a way towards the delivery of safe water in all households, ultimately neither through self-treatment, nor self-supply.
We now seek the fruits of more intensive leverage amongst several communities. As well as the consumer, safe water also depends on the communicator, entrepreneur, investor, regulator, upscaler as well as the water profession.
As an unregistered hybrid group, we operate as an autonomous project under the legal aegis of Aqua for All, a Dutch foundation. Our ‘core group’ consists of contributing delegates from Antenna Technologies Foundation, Aqua for All, Connect International, the Swiss Agency for Cooperation and Development (SDC) and an individual consultant from Kenya.
Between 2010 to 2013, additional finance was provided by Aqua for All and SDC. Secretariat functions were sub-contracted to CI for technology watch and insight, and to Médiateurs for communication. Additionally, consultants were hired for specific scoping tasks on social venture tribes, a HWTS yearbook, carbon finance and the seminal Malawi platform.
Since 2010, 300in6 has had a regular presence at key events and virtual encounters of the water profession worldwide. In 2012, this outreach was extended to the social venture, investment and (intended) social marketing communities. Preparations were started in 2013 to extend further into social marketing, and to the families of national regulators.
Drawing on their extensive field experiences, members of the core group have co-authored and commissioned reports on upscaling, social behaviour and hygiene, carbon finance and platform building.
The website has been host to an expanding collection of soft and hard knowledge on HWTS and on methodologies for upscale. The video project, launched in 2011, has been grown into a comprehensive research and report suite, comprising an extensive set of videos, audio files, photos and field reports.
The core of our goal, our mission, is stated on every page in this website: a massive upscaling of safe water, to optimise the health and well-being of the individual, the family and society in achieving sound human development.
In fact, our mission resonates loud and clear through every word on the site: what we want, how we shall work to achieve it, and whom we count on to share in the safe water scale-up.
In many communities and environments, the fastest and most cost-effective way to our goal is by scaling up decentralised water treatment at the ‘Point of Use’, in the household and the local community. This is, though, let us be very clear, simply a stepping stone towards a better, wider, deeper delivery of safe water.
Water treatment products must be ‘must haves’: user-friendly, attractive, effective and affordable, especially in vulnerable and cash-stretched families. This includes low-threshold payment schemes, such as micro-loans and replacement vouchers.
Greater awareness will help: of consumers and government on the micro- and macro-benefits of water treatment, and of government, social organisations and – critically –producers and suppliers of new options and products, and best practice, based on lessons learned.
Maximised capacity and skill-pooling is essential: cooperation between government, social actors and competitors in the private sector is highly effective, especially when it embraces the six sectors and platform-building we describe in ‘About You and us’.
All the above serves to create an enabling environment for all actors to derive benefit, and in particular, the consumer. Such enabling requires resources, which need not always be a charge to the supply-chain or the consumer. Carbon credits and other mechanisms to enhance co-benefits have a great contribution to make.
Health, through happiness. Optimal health and well-being is the goal, but it is not always the key motivator in the adoption of HWTS or community water treatment. More often, financial and social gain, including prestige and standing, make the difference. This requires service-delivery workers and behaviourialists to, frankly, loosen up.
Demand must meet supply. Market-based supply chains with a range (‘basket’) of products and solutions, together with guaranteed replacement parts, must be enabled.
Let the markets work. The water world is rich in gifting, and poor in grasping the effects of such market distortion. We advocate ‘no free gifts’, and that every consumer pays – except, clearly, in emergencies or absolute poverty of families, particularly pregnant consumers.