International Women’s Day: #InspireInclusion by empowering Women in Water and Sanitation Entrepreneurship - Aqua for All

International Women’s Day: #InspireInclusion by empowering Women in Water and Sanitation Entrepreneurship

Published: 8th March 2024

As we commemorate International Women’s Day, we celebrate women running micro, small, and medium enterprises providing access to water and sanitation services for families in low-income communities. The female franchisees of our partner Jibu are part of these inspirational entrepreneurs.


Promoting women’s entrepreneurship with impact-linked financing

Jibu, meaning ‘solution’, operates across eight African countries, distributing safe drinking water through 190 franchises. The empowerment of local entrepreneurs running production franchises equipped with ultra-filtration technology is at the heart of its model.

Owning and managing a franchise business is a life changing experience for aspiring entrepreneurs.

The technology ensures the production of safe water, packaged in reusable bottles and distributed to end-customers by local resellers or mobile distributors.

To broaden their impact, and support those who need access to drinking water and income generating opportunities most, Jibu applied for Social Impact Incentives (SIINC), an innovative finance instrument offered through our Impact-Linked Fund for Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (ILF for WASH). Together with Jibu, we defined metrics to measure additional impact. This joint effort will not only diminish the gender gap but also foster inclusion across Jibu’s operations without hindering diversification and growth.

Over the next four years, Jibu will receive SIINC support to expand and sustain its low-income customer base in Uganda. Our SIINC support will incentivise the empowerment of female franchises by de-risking the opportunity to launch and manage a franchise business in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Kenya, Rwanda, and Uganda.

In the short-term, identifying and onboarding female franchisees has proven to be challenging. Women are less likely to have the necessary capital to start a franchise as they have limited access to capital and income-generating activities. In some instances, women may require additional training due to their comparatively lower exposure to business environments. However, despite these initial challenges, Jibu has discovered that female entrepreneurs demonstrate remarkable success in the long run.

Through ILF for WASH, Jibu will receive the necessary support to overcome initial hurdles, thereby empowering more female water entrepreneurs across five countries.


Our commitment to advancing gender and inclusion

Driven by the promising outcomes of our partnership with Jibu, we are determined to expand this model on a broader scale, championing gender equality and inclusion within the water and sanitation sector. Aqua for All will play an indirect role in verifying the outcomes, facilitating an exchange with Jibu to share insights on lessons learned,

challenges encountered and other aspects aimed at empowering female entrepreneurship. These exchanges will serve as valuable inputs for shaping future ILF for WASH support initiatives with a focus on fostering enhanced gender equality and inclusion within water and sanitation enterprises.


With a renewed and comprehensive gender strategy and implementation plan, Aqua for All remains dedicated to actively pursuing opportunities to empower women and girls through our partnerships. By embedding gender and inclusion considerations into our initiatives and partnerships, we endeavor to create a more equitable and inclusive future for all. As we celebrate International Women’s Day, let us persist in paving the way and #inspireinclusion, fostering a water and sanitation economy that provides women entrepreneurs with the opportunities to flourish and prosper.