There are considerable challenges in reaching ‘the last mile’ in universal access to sustainable water and sanitation (SDG6) and in improving functionality and affordability of rural and peri-urban water supply systems. The SMART Centre approach addresses these challenges by providing local entrepreneurs training in SMARTechs – innovative, low cost products and technologies like groundwater recharge, manually drilled tube wells, producing rope hand pumps, household water filters and zero cement latrines.
The five existing SMART Centres in Tanzania, Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia, and Nicaragua have joined forces to form the SMART Centre Group. A sixth is starting in Ethiopia and there are several requests from other countries. The SMART Centre in Tanzania is most developed, having established 35 new local companies that have produced 3.000 hand drilled tube wells and 10.000 rope pumps. About 50% is produced for small communities mostly funded by donors and the other 50% is paid for by families themselves. Family wells increase incomes by an average of € 180 per year, an immediate tangible benefit. The goal of the SMART Centre Group is to scale this approach to reach many more areas in need of efficient, sustainable management of scarce water resources.