13 July 2021

Safe drinking water and ice block supply for fisher communities

"We provide disadvantaged island communities with environmentally friendly fresh water as well as ice blocks to access high quality fish markets" (Shana Fatina, Komodo)

Tinamitra Mandiri: Komodo Water - Freshwater supply for Indonesian fishing communities (Indonesia)

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Tinamitra Mandiri, a social enterprise domiciled on the Indonesian island of Flores, established a water business jointly with the Papagarang Island community. Solar energy is used to produce drinking water and ice blocks from sea water. The affordable and ecologically produced ice blocks allow the fishers to explore remote fishing grounds to meet the growing demand for fresh fish and thereby achieve higher income.


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The Papagarang Island communities mainly depend on fishing and have been living with limited access to freshwater despite the growing tourism industry in the area. Moreover, living within the Komodo National Park area limits their fishing activities, which requires them to go farther offshore than before. They have difficulties to keep their catches fresh, forcing them to sell more than 50% of their catches at significantly lower prices on the market. Shortages of freshwater and energy supply have discouraged them from acquiring proper refrigeration systems. Currently, water and ice pack supplies are brought from Labuan Bajo, a town located two hours away by boat. The ice cubes are packed in plastic bags, usually carelessly disposed, thereby causing severe ocean pollution. Diesel generators are currently the most common technology used to provide electricity in the National Park and its surroundings, even though their noise and gas emissions are harmful to the natural ecosystem.

Entrepreneurial Approach and Innovation

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Tinamitra Mandiri's (TM) is a social enterprise providing universal access to decent water and sustainable water management solutions for small islands and coastal communities. Its value proposition is to be the exclusive provider of freshwater and derivative products for the coastal and small island communities using solar power systems. The current project is on Papagarang Island, Komodo, hence TM uses Komodo Water (KW) as a brand. KW distinguishes its products by minimising the use of single-use plastic. Ice is not wrapped in plastic, unlike the existing ice supply from Labuan Bajo. The growing tourism industry will drive more demand for fresh fish. Ice blocks allow the fishers to go farther to meet this demand without having to worry about keeping their catches fresh. Moreover, the availability of affordable ice will mitigate the risk of overfishing in the surrounding waters of Komodo National Park. The supply of desalinated freshwater will allow local communities to cook healthier foods and protect them from communicable diseases. The Papagarang Island community has the option to buy stakes in the business to develop ownership or become distributors for KW products through competitive profit-sharing. TM has been working collaboratively with communities on the island to develop and manage the supporting infrastructure, including by organising community service for public health, establishing resellers among local businesspersons, and hiring local young people.

Tinamitra Mandiri Business Model

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When Komodo Water was selected as finalist for the ReSource Award, the organisation was in the phase of validating its solution and business model. With the support of the Swiss Re Foundation, Komodo Water has been able to experiment with its business model, clarify its purpose, and understand its capacities and requirements to scale its business. These reflections as well as the set-up of a business plan helped the organisation to access additional funding, make wise investment decisions, and prepare it to cooperate with partners and investors. Through Komodo Water’s products and services, 3,600 beneficiaries have gained access to freshwater.

Success factors

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There is a number of factors contributing to businesses long-term success. This business case has been honoured by the International ReSource Award program mainly due to the following success factors: 

Leadership skills Important leadership skills are:  Komodo Water particularly stands out for the strong leadership skills of founder Shana Fatina.
Stakeholder management competences Important Stakeholder management competences are:  Komodo Water is known for its networking skills as well as its close and personal contact to fisher communities and markets.
Access to markets   Komodo Water is particularly successful due to its active and agile market development. The company has been in close contact with stakeholders on the ground for many years. 

Apart from the success factors mentioned above, this start-up has been recognized by the Swiss Re Foundation because of its planning and review expertise and technical operation skills.

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