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Creating positive impact on safe drinking water awareness and access, improved health and economic burden for low-income BOP consumers.

Folia Water Global’s impact goal is to reduce the health and economic burdens of diarrheal and other waterborne diseases for 500 million working class people in 10 years, and 1 billion in 20 years.



Safe Drinking Water

Situational Analysis, Global and Bangladesh

Global context

In 2017, an estimated 1.2 million people died as a result of unsafe drinking water sources: 2.2% of global deaths, of which 6% of deaths and 50% of hospitalizations are in low-income countries. Waterborne infectious diseases include cholera, diarrhea, dysentery, hepatitis, typhoid, and polio. Diarrheal diseases and other GI-associated conditions often also play a role in malnutrition and childhood stunting. Sustainable Development Goal 6.1 calls for universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water. The UN WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Project defines a WASH water ladder: untreated surface water, unprotected wells, improved water, and germ-free, clean, safe water. The target is “safely managed drinking water services” – drinking water from an improved water source that is located on premises, available when needed, and free from fecal and priority chemical contamination. In 2017, 5.3 billion people had safely managed drinking-water service. The remaining 2.2 billion people without safely managed services in 2017 included:


  • 1.4 billion people with basic services, meaning an improved water source located within a round trip of 30 minutes
  • 206 million people with limited services, typically an improved water source requiring more than 30 minutes to collect water
  • 435 million people taking water from unprotected wells and springs
  • 144 million people collecting untreated surface water from lakes, ponds, rivers and streams.

Bangladesh context

Bangladesh has made significant progress regarding universal access to improved water sources, with more than 97% of households having access to improved water in 2013 (UNICEF - Bangladesh WASH E-book, 2018). In Bangladesh, the arsenic problem has been largely addressed by the Government and different NGO’s, with a significant decline to only 15% of drinking water at tap having an arsenic problem and these are largely humanitarian/edge cases.

However, we believe that the largest drinking water problem globally and in Bangladesh is germs in water at the point of consumption.

4.9 million people in Bangladesh do not have access to clean drinking water sources close to home and 73 million people in Bangladesh use contaminated water for drinking (Bangladesh - Facts and Statistics | WaterAid Bangladesh. Wateraid (2017)). Nationally, 40.3% of households use a water source containing Escherichia coli (E. coli) at the PoC and evidence of fecal contamination. Drinking water at the point of use was even more likely to be unsafe: 81.9% of households provided a glass of drinking water that contained E. coli (BANGLADESH MICS(6) 2019 WATER QUALITY THEMATIC REPORT, SEPTEMBER 2021). Even, 41% of all improved water sources sampled across Bangladesh were contaminated with E.coli (Amin (2019))

There are limited affordable market solutions available for rural households to treat drinking water. Water appliances ranging from $20 to $200 are too expensive for the BOP population, resulting in low market penetration. Rural entrepreneurs also have limited knowledge of how to provide market solutions to rural households. Only 10% of the Bangladesh population treats their water at home (BANGLADESH MICS(6) 2019 WATER QUALITY THEMATIC REPORT, SEPTEMBER 2021).

Consumption of contaminated water results in diseases such as cholera, diarrhea, dysentery, hepatitis A, typhoid, etc. Contaminated water for drinking and cooking is directly related to diarrheal diseases which impact child nutrition outcomes. In Bangladesh, the child mortality rate due to diarrhea is 7.5 deaths per 100,000. In 2016, estimated disability-adjusted life years (DALY) and deaths due to diarrhea were 855k+ and 19k+ respectively. 2.6k deaths and 257k DALYs of children under 5 years were recorded. In 2015, the estimated annual economic burden of diarrheal diseases in Bangladesh was US $172 million whereas the average per-episode cost was US $ 67 (BMC Global health research and policy). Approximately 2.56 million diarrheal cases were reported in 2015 in various health facilities in Bangladesh.

Women and girls bear 90% of the responsibility of collecting water in Bangladesh; therefore, they spend a significant amount of their time in a day on this activity (Enhancing women’s access to water, sanitation, and hygiene in Bangladesh. World Bank Blogs, 2021).

Specific problem statement for Folia's Target groups, the working class BOPs :

Folia Water has identified 4 customer pain points that limit adapting to household water treatment practices among the BOP communities in Bangladesh.


Average household income of the target group is $2-$10/day. Only 10% has willingness to pay for a $40 water purifiers


Current water purifiers don’t have consumer-commercial fit for a large fraction of the BOP. Self-service water kiosks/ATMs require urban population densities.


We found that women in the families are already aware of germs and water purifiers. The awareness gap lies within the purchase decision makers 


The majority of working class consumers want to buy safe water but they need a solution like hygiene products: soaps, shampoo, etc. FMCG product with less one time investment

63,000 +

Direct Beneficiaries

47,000 +

Households reached

1.6 M +

Liters of Safe drinking water provided

2500 +

Grocery stores

Folia Water addressing UN Sustainable Development Goals

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