In 2004, three friends created the 1001 fontaines association with the idea of enabling isolated rural communities in Cambodia to have access to water. To achieve this, they set up small ultraviolet water purification stations near the villages. Each station is managed by a local entrepreneur who monitors and controls water quality, raises awareness about the dangers of pond water among the population, organises the bottling of drinking water in canisters, and sells it to the villagers at an affordable price. For less than one Euro cent per litre, the water is distributed in twenty-litre, disinfected, closed and sealed canisters. And they are 100% recyclable. A sponsorship system has been set up in the village with stations in order to provide schools with a free supply of 20 litres of drinking water per class and per day. This enables them to ensure that schoolchildren have access to clean water on a daily basis, thus significantly improving their health. This also guarantees better prospects for the future given that the operation helps to drastically reduce absenteeism related to diarrhoea and other water-related illnesses. Currently, two fountains are installed in Cambodian villages every month, and 2,500,000 litres are distributed to 240,000 people every month.
In 2008, the association started operating in Madagascar. Ten villages have already been provided with stations, and over 10,000 people consume water from the 1001 fontaines project on a daily basis. And a pilot project has just been launched to provide these stations for four villages in West Bengal, in India.
And because this great project can only grow, the association now aims to reach one million served by 2020.