To break the cycle of poverty in Africa, access to clean water for drinking, water for irrigation, toilets with hygiene and nutritional education must be improved. Using simple but effective technology, PumpAid builds water pumps, called Elephant Pumps, that can be maintained by poor rural communities without any assistance.
Pumps are built in response to grassroots demand and in full consultation with the local community. The local community come together to assist in the building process, providing materials such as bricks, sand, stones and unskilled labour.
The Elephant Pump can also supply water for irrigating gardens where villagers can grow fruit and vegetables to improve their families' diet or even to sell to bring much needed cash into the household.
The Pump that has been developed by Pump Aid and is based on a 2,000 year old Chinese design. Pump Aid has adapted this design so that it is strong, long lasting and made from locally available materials.
The pump can lift water from as deep as 50m deep and produce one litre of water every second. Wells are usually dug by hand but teams may need help to blow out rocks and heavily impacted earth. Pump Aid never uses mechanical diggers because it would deprive someone a job and increase the total price of installing a pump. In addition some of the places we work in are so remote it would be impossible to bring in machinery.
The location of a well is determined by geological formations and vegetation growth but the final decision is made by one of the water diviners in the Pump Aid team.
As the Pump handle is turned, water is drawn up the pump by plastic washers attached to a rope. The Pumps are so easy to use that children as young as five years old can manage to pump out a bucket full of water.
The Pump is encased in concrete to prevent any contamination, ensuring that a clean sustainable supply of water is provided for the local community.
When a Pump is built, the beneficiaries will receive a training workshop so that they can maintain and repair the Pump using easy to find materials such as plant fibres and plastic. They will also receive hygiene education on practices and tips on using the overflow of water for agriculture. Often nutrition gardens are set up alongside the Elephant Pump.
An Elephant Pump cost £500 for materials and to install, which is cheaper than a metal piston pump and lasts for up to 50 years. 250 people can be provided with 40 liters of clean water from each Pump, everyday.
Pump Aid started in 1998 and has so far built over 4000 pumps. Currently around 80 Elephant Pumps are built each month, resulting in 20,000 people benefiting from access to clean water.
This blog entry is part of the Blog Action Day campaign inviting bloggers to publish posts about poverty today, October 15th.
Discovered the Elephant Pump via Afrigadget
More posts on The Road about poverty, development and water.