Fondazione ACRA Water and Sanitation Programme

ACRA is a non-governmental, non-profit, and independent foundation recognized by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the European Union. It was founded in 1968 to support the fight against poverty and hunger, and to promote the right of access to clean water and sanitation, natural resources, health and education.
In 2015 its activities have had an impact over 400 thousand people in 15 African, Central and South American countries. ACRA’s team is composed by 300 operators, 90% of them are in the operation countries.
Together with energy and food, the WASH sector represents ACRA’s main field of operations; since 2006 ACRA's Water and Sanitation Programme has designed and implemented projects that worth 28ml€ in 6 countries in Africa and Latin America. In 2008 ACRA started reengineering its conventional approach by creating a social business unit that has since incubate social enterprises (SE) in Asia, Africa and Latin America. 5 years later ACRA launched OPES, an investment vehicle targeting early stage social enterprises in east Africa and Asia, with a current portfolio of 7 social enterprises engaged in different sectors.

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Working Fields

The initiative aims to increase access to adequate sanitation services for the BoP in the municipalities of
Maputo (MOZAMBIQUE) Iringa (TANZANIA), Bignona (SENEGAL), and to trigger a vibrant sanitation marketplace. High social impact is achieved through increased accessibility of better integrated services and products, by developing innovative technologies and integrated modelling along the steps of the sanitation value-chain, by enabling and scaling inclusive sanitation social enterprises and by improving access to microfinance services to both, households and businesses. The sanitation initiative is designed and implemented in partnership with local municipalities and focus on peri-urban areas, where population and economic growth and rising living standards have led to a general trend of increased demand for more and higher levels of sanitation services.
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The programme focus on the Democratic governance of water resources in Honduras, Nicaragua and El Salvador, by strengthening the capacities of local municipalities and stakeholders in designing and implementing comprehensive low-scale and low- cost Water Master Plans, by enhancing the participation of the private sector in the water resources management (WRM) and by supporting the community-based water operators in networking and in developing social business skills to provide quality services. Main program focus also include the participatory designing/monitoring of Water and Sanitation safety plans; the program adopts a NEXUS perspective (Water-Food-Energy) by analyzing trade-off of new investments in the area and by accompanying the productive use of water resources in the agricultural sector.
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The programme started in 2006 in the Ziguinchor Region, and is currently scaling-up in the Senegal South Region by supporting the national agency OFOR toward the densification of multi-villages water schemes, by facilitating the participation of private operators in the water management and promoting and installing household metered distribution points. Additionally, the program aims to strengthen the participation of local communities in the democratic and transparent governance of the water service and to improve the water quality by designing and monitoring Water Safety Plans (WHO).
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Download further information

Sanitation Initiative Brochure (pdf) • Size: 1.07 MB

Iringa SAN Brochure (pdf) • Size: 0.89 MB

SENSAN Brochure (pdf) • Size: 4.43 MB


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  Mario Milanesi

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