Kid-powered water pumps
Several years ago, concerned by the time and energy South African women spent fetching water from distant, often polluted sources, Trevor Fields decided to do something. Fields teamed up with an inventor to produce the PlayPump—a children’s merry-go-round, that when spun, pumps water from below ground to an above-ground storage tank. Each PlayPump costs about $14,000, but operating costs are nil since the pumps are run by kidpower.
PlayPumps have been unique to South Africa, but now this brilliant and sustainable technology is spreading. Last month, First Lady Laura Bush announced a $16.4 million investment by the U.S. government, the Case Foundation and the MCJ Foundation to install PlayPumps throughout sub-Saharan Africa. Says Jane Case of the Case Foundation:
As Americans, we tend to take clean drinking water for granted, but in Africa it can be the difference between basic health and disease, between stability and poverty, and between life and death. Providing a clean water solution to an African community can open the doors of opportunity in so many areas – health, education, gender equality and economic development.