Brazil has problems typical of both rich and poor countries, such as urban air pollution, waste management issues and obesity, but also poverty, malnutrition and lack of access to clean water and sanitation. For over two decades, its northeastern state of Ceará experimented with a novel approach to providing affordable water and sanitation services to its impoverished rural population. The community service organisation SISAR, in partnership with various governmental institutions and development banks, managed to significantly increase rural coverage of clean water. Yet about half the population in rural Ceará still had no access to clean water supply or had precarious water services. There was ample room to expand the system within the state and scale it up for the entire country. But to achieve this, SISAR needed to figure out (i) whether it should be run as a private business independent from the state; (ii) whether it should aim to expand its participation within the state of Ceará ‒ then at 36% of the rural population ‒ and if so, how; and (iii) what the best funding model would be that could enable it to scale up as well as improve its current infrastructure and maintenance programme. This case allows students to develop new strategies that bring about innovative solutions to foster sustainable economic and social development in vulnerable communities. This case is part of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) case series, developed by Rotterdam School of Management (RSM), Erasmus University. With a focus on SDG 6 (Clean Water and Sanitation), the case is also closely related to SDG 3 (Good Health and Well-being).

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Rotterdam School of Management (RSM), Erasmus University

Moraes Carvalho, D., Ossewaarde, M., & van Tulder, R. (2020). SISAR Model for Brazil Rural Water Supply. RSM Case Development Centre. Retrieved from

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