Playpumps

The responsibility of collecting clean water n Africa often falls on children. This limits their opportunity for education and a higher quality of life as they can spend hours walking to and from the clean water source. Equally important is that it leaves no time for FUN and play which are both vital to child’s healthy development. PlayPump is one innovate solution to the question of how to supply clean drinking water to African villages using children while at the same time contributing to their healthy and positive development. It’s a simple idea. As children spin on a merry-go-round, water pumps from below the ground. It is stored in a tank just a few feet away, making a safe, plentiful supply of water available in the community.

Playpumps

While children have fun spinning on the Playpump (1), clean water is pumped (2) from underground (3) into a 2,500-liter tank (4), standing seven meters above the ground. A simple tap (5) makes it easy for women and children to draw water. Excess water is diverted from the storage tank back down into the borehole (6). The water storage tank (7) provides a rare opportunity to advertise in rural communities. All four sides of the tank are leased as billboards, with two sides for consumer advertising and the other two sides for health and educational messages. The revenue generated by this unique model pays for pump maintenance.

For more information please visit the Playpumps website.

17 comments » Write a comment

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  2. Chris the advertising/public service announcements on the side of the tanks to pay for the pumps is one of the best things about this scheme. It is vital to ensure that projects like this are at the very least self sustaining after the initial investment. In future they may even become profit making. Clean water and a source of income which can be reinvested in the community.

    Thanks for the comment.

  3. Mental, great link on water! I’m surprised our local water expert (Kikuyumoja) hasn’t sounded off on it yet? :)

    I just got back from a weekend with some Kenyan friends who just got to the States with some pictures of what they Rendille up in the NFD are doing to help with their water collection. I’ll try and get that up shortly.

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  5. We are a small non-profit that provides free medical care to the children of Uganda and I am so excited about this children’s pump, I want to see what we can do to install one of these in one of our communities in Northeastern Uganda.
    Does the $7000 include the cost of the borehole and the container or it that additional? I previously worked in the construction industry and I can’t think of a better contribution than to have our city’s contractors help in making this become a reality for our kids!!!

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  7. Chris the advertising/public service announcements on the side of the tanks to pay for the pumps is one of the best things about this scheme. It is vital to ensure that projects like this are at the very least self sustaining after the initial investment. In future they may even become profit making. Clean water and a source of income which can be reinvested in the community.

    Thanks

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  9. Comment on the “Playpump”

    We appreciate the attention for the school water problem, but this “Playpump” is realy not the way to go.

    It has been tried out many years ago in South Africa and it didnt work for many reasons.

    - after a while, kids dont see the fun anymore
    - tanks always empty, so you have to play before
    you can drink
    - if other people want water, theu have to look
    for some kids to play first.
    - the tanks are leaking, also through the taps
    and water is lost
    - advertisement only available in populated
    areas, but there is often piped water, so
    no need for this expensive system
    - it is extremly expensive
    - you have to buy 10 at the time at 8.000 to
    10.000 US$ each, so it makes no sense for
    one school
    - maintenance is very complicated and expensive
    after some years nobodfy will take care of
    it, but “who realy cares anyway…?”

    Conclussion:

    It is a WatSan fake product, but very well presented by some clecer business guys who have no idea what the real problems and challaenges are in Africa.

    These business man probably could care less that the money could be so much better spend for real sustainable activities, as long as they have their profits.

    WatSan Consult
    Paul van Beers
    25 years experience in Rural Africa)

    http://www.handpump.org

    http://www.watsan.org

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  11. I am very interested in this water pump and it sounds good. And I would like to find out how to contact Paul van Beers to find out more about why he doesn’t like it and what he suggests is more sustainable. Thank you.

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  13. Discussion Play-Pump continued …

    (To Rebecca Ryan and others who reacted)

    What a lot of people in the WatSan Sector dont like, is the “exploitation” of the water needs in Africa. This is clearly the case with the extreamly expensive and not sustainable Play-Pump. There are many things not OK, like for insance they claim to “give” to 2.500 people per pump water. This is nonsense. It shows that they have no idea on what they are talking about. Kids are at school and may use the wheel for one a short time before and after classes, before getting dizzy. if the pump gives a max of 1,5 m3/h, you are lucky to get a max of 1000 liters per day, which may serve 50 to 100 persons.

    Any normal handpump will do the same, but is easier to use by others and so much cheaper! Imagine that with the Playpump, man, woman etc. first have to sit and get dizzy before they can have some water. Sorry…

    A normal handpump serves everyone and is easier to maintain. Money counts in the end, we know that in Africa, but the people who sell the Ppaypump only see their own profit, seems??, or maybe they are not well informed and have seen Africa only from pictures and Kruger Safaris?

    The problem is always maintenance, and handpumps were also problematic because of frequent breakdowns. That is why we promote a new maintenance free handpump, the AFRIPUMP, made in Holland, yes, the country that has some experience with water, which is now available for Africa.

    More info on our website http://www.handpump.org

    Sincerely
    Paul van Beers
    WatSan Consult

    p.s. The good aspect of the Playpump is the advertising that could raise some money. On the Afripump this advertising is also possible.

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  15. Just re-reading this, thought I’d add a few links to some writing I’ve been doing about the Playpump, including a user review of the PlayPump by a rural African woman.

    A general discussion of the technology: http://thoughtsfrommalawi.blogspot.com/2009/08/playpump.html

    A user-review by a rural African woman (from Chikwawa district, Malawi):
    http://thoughtsfrommalawi.blogspot.com/2009/10/playpump-ii.html

    A post about the challenges of getting the real story when visiting these things:
    http://thoughtsfrommalawi.blogspot.com/2009/11/playpump-iii-challenge-of-taking-photos.html

    Thanks,

    Owen