Fontes Foundation is actively involved in research in order to contribute to knowledge in the water and sanitation sector, the emergency sector and the development sector in general. Throughout the implementation of projects, monitoring and evaluation structures are put in place in order to collect data on a number of topics. This data is later used to answer research questions, or simply to learn lessons and improve future projects. Always improving project implementation, approaches and technologies are an important part of the philosophy of Fontes Foundation.

In order to share the information with other practitioners, donors and governments, Fontes Foundation staff regularly participates at national and international events, and each year papers are published internationally based on the research.

Read our papers

The research of Fontes Foundation can broadly be divided into three categories:

Product Development

Fontes Foundation expertise has contributed to advanced product development with a number of suppliers, through field testing as well as suggestions on technology and design improvements. For example, Fontes Foundation has collaborated with the Norwegian supplier Scan-Water on a number of products, including the EmWatKit pressurised filters for water treatment and the adaptation of this technology to permanent settings, or different types of water tanks.

Fontes Foundation also developed entirely new products depending on specific projects requirements. For instance, we developed a chlorine doser and an Aluminium Sulphate doser for our safe water systems. The dosers are produced with cost-effective materials available in the area and don’t require power.

Since 2008 Fontes Foundation has been using SMS technology to monitor the functionality of a safe water system. The systems sends automatic updates via text messages to the server, to allow remote monitoring of the system on a regular basis.

Practical Research

In addition to providing regular monitoring and evaluation of the projects, our reporting systems provides a solid set of data that can be used for research purposes. In 2012 we carried out a cost-tracking exercise to identify the categories of life-cycle costs of rural water projects.

Fontes Foundation actively trials new approaches to project implementation, design, follow up, management and capacity building in order to contribute to the project management research. We believe that a lot of research is yet to be done in the field of long-term sustainability of development cooperation projects. Fontes Foundation has aimed at achieving sustainability in its projects by giving a business approach to the systems in order to incentivise the community to optimise operation and maintenance of the water system. Fontes Foundation regularly shares its findings with the scientific community.

Concept Development

On a more global level, Fontes Foundation staff regularly participates in brainstorming sessions where concepts and approaches in development work are challenged. Problems found in the field are often due to certain principles, strategies or policies followed by donors and governments, and the underlying understandings, assumptions and concepts need to be changed in order to change these policies. In order to create incentives to spend donor and government funds more wisely and with sustainability in mind, tools such as indicators and monitoring mechanisms need to be improved. The most famous concept developed by Fontes Foundation is the Water-Person-Year (WPY) indicator, that you can read more about here.

Fontes Foundation publications are regularly referenced in other publications.

Valentin KoestlerResearch