Dispensers for Safe Water

A Proven, Unique Rural Water Service

Unsafe drinking water is a global problem,with almost one billion people currently without access to an improved water supply. Chlorine dispensers take on the safe drinking water challenge.

  • We treat water with chlorine, a proven, low-cost water treatment solution.
  • We focus on sustainable service delivery, not a one-time hardware installation.
  • We measure success by actual use of chlorine, and by leveraging cues from behavioral economics to achieve high rates of adoption.
  • We take on the challenge of sustainability and solve it, but do not resort to user fees which would screen out many households.
  • Our carbon revenue business model is a self-financing one that only requires an infusion of up-front capital and that incentivizes us to achieve and measure accurately high rates of product usage.

The Evidence For Dispensers

We discuss our take on the evidence supporting chlorine dispensers here but in short: 

  • The Cochrane Review evaluated water interventions at point-of-use as well as more traditional water source improvements. The review covered 38 independent comparisons from 30 trials that involved more than 53,000 people. The review found that "in general, such interventions were effective in reducing episodes of diarrhea. Household interventions were more effective in preventing diarrhea than those at the source."
  • A 3ie review covered 65 rigorous impact evaluations of water, sanitation and/or hygiene interventions on diarrhea morbidity, covering 71 distinct interventions assessed across 130,000 children in 35 developing countries during the past three decades. It concludes that point-of-use water quality interventions appear to be highly effective – and indeed, more effective than water supply or source treatment in reducing diarrhea – but that this is very sensitive to the ability of the program to sustain high rates of product adoption. A point of use product cannot provide health benefits if people don’t use it.
  • Researchers Arnold and Colford conducted a systematic review of all studies that measured diarrheal health impacts in children and the impact on water quality of point-of-use chlorine drinking water treatment. Twenty-one relevant studies were identified and combined using meta-analysis to provide summary estimates of the intervention effect. The intervention reduced the risk of child diarrhea by 29%, and up to 40% if you look at effects only among people actually using the product, as opposed to only being offered it.

There are shortcomings to the existing epidemiology literature. The reviews highlight the short duration of the studies that are available, and there is a need for more trials that are blinded or rely on objective measures of health outcomes instead of self-reported diarrhea.

Where We Work


  • Evidence Action today provides over 1.9 million Kenyans with sustained access to clean water with 15,000 dispensers installed to date (as of end of July 2015). 
  • Achieve sustained adoption rates by users of 49% in Kenya. 
  • A partnership with Kiva funds clean water access for 600,000 Kenyans.
  • Carbon credits finance the project for sustainable service delivery into the future, making it possible for communities to reap benefits of their carbon offsets.


  • Evidence Action currently provides 625,000 Malawians with sustained access to clean water with 2,400 dispensers installed to date (as of end of July 2015).
  • Achieve sustained adoption rates by users of 91% in Malawi.
  • Serve an additional 1.72 million Malawians by 2016.
  • Expand from the initial pilot in Zomba district to the neighboring districts of Machinga and Phalombe.
  • Evidence Action is now certified to generate carbon credits in Malawi that will finance the project for sustainable service delivery into the future.


  • Evidence Action provides 1.5 million Ugandans with access to safe drinking water with 5,200 dispensers installed (as of end of July 2015).
  • Achieve sustained adoption rates by users of 57% in Uganda. 
  • Serve an additional 2 million Ugandans by the end of 2015.
  • Carbon credits were certified in mid-2014, and will finance the project for sustainable service delivery into the future.

Sustainable Financing: Carbon Credits

Dispenser access is free to users. But we do not rely solely on donations or grant funding to cover the costs of service delivery.

Instead, Evidence Action works with experts to develop, monitor, audit, issue and sell carbon credits. We use the revenues earned from carbon sales to reinvest in the program, ensuring that our program is sustainable over the long term.


Burning firewood to boil water emits greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Chlorination via dispensers allows people to drink safe water without having to boil it.


Dispensers generate carbon credits by avoiding the greenhouse gas emissions anticipated as poorer countries develop. These emissions are averted as people leapfrog boiling and go straight to a cleaner water treatment technology.