APPROACH AND METHODOLOGY
Wello is in the final stages of taking their concept prototype of the WaterWheel into production. The final design incorporates greater shipping efficiency, prevents recontamination of clean water at the point of use, and performs better over a variety of terrains.
Once on the ground, Wello will test and fine-tune its business model and distribution strategy with the goal of selling 500 WaterWheels during the pilot. The WaterWheel, which is expected to last 10 years, will retail for $25-$30 per unit. The WaterWheel will be sold through a variety of channels: rural agricultural co-ops, rural distribution channels, hardware stores, village kiosks, clean water sales points, through NGOs, government agencies, the postal service, and also through the Wello website. Wello will track sales during the pilot in order to identify the best outlet for the WaterWheel.
Additional subsidy will be provided by the sale of ad space (the WaterWheel can be branded with corporate colors, logos and social marketing messages). WaterWheel users have the opportunity to further offset the price of the WaterWheel during the monitoring and evaluation phase by selling advertising space on their WaterWheels (ads and social marketing messages in the form of durable stickers).
Wello is committed to making their innovative water transportation tool, the WaterWheel, widely available at an affordable price. They anticipate that 50 - 75% of their customers will be able to purchase the WaterWheel without any financial assistance.
IMPLEMENTATION, TIMELINE, AND DELIVERABLES
Wello will work in collaboration with local organizations including clean water-providers, NGOs, and government agencies.
The timeline will be as follows:
November - February 2011: obtain customer feedback on the design of the 3.0 WaterWheel prototype (a 'nest-able' 2-part design), finalize participation of pilot partners, recruit a local staff person to oversee manufacturing and logistics.
March 2012: First WaterWheel production run (500 units).
April - June 2012: pilot launches; the goal is to manufacture and sell 500 WaterWheels in 3 -5 communities by June 2012.
July 2012: evaluation and follow up; identify lessons learned, and incorporate into next phase.
At the end of the pilot period, Wello hopes to sell 500 WaterWheels to individuals and families in Rajasthan and Gujarat, India. Additionally, they hope to better understand what it takes to get the WaterWheel to people at an affordable price and further identify their target demographic.
The daily burden of water collection undermines productivity, limits the pursuit of educational opportunities and traps households in poverty. Lack of reliable access to an improved water source translates to what the 2006 UN Human Development Report has called 'time poverty' for women and children. Compounding the problem is the lack of reliable access to potable water, which can lead to dire health consequences.
The WaterWheel frees up valuable time and, in the process, it removes barriers that prevent children from going to school and empowers women to engage in more productive activities. Over the long term, the use of a WaterWheel results in healthier, better-educated families who are better able to break free from the cycle of poverty. Wello has the potential to create real, world-changing opportunities for women and girls; this is the girl effect in action.
Wello is a social venture with a bold mission to effectively deliver clean water to a thirsty world. By reframing the water crisis as an opportunity, Wello has reinvented the wheel and developed an innovative business model that empowers individuals to use the WaterWheel as an income-generating tool to lift their families out of poverty.