Pump Aid aims to fix problems with the traditional supply of water, via pumps, to some of the world’s poorest people. Its first project is in Kasungu, a province of Malawi, where water is in short supply. DfID estimates that at any given time 40 per cent of community water points in Malawi are not working, because people lack the skills to fix them.
Pump Aid aims to treat people as customers, not beneficiaries, and apply commercial principles: a self-supply approach.
Between 2014 and 2016 Pump Aid encouraged individuals in Kasungu to invest in their own water and sanitation. It trained 25 entrepreneurs, provided equipment and marketing material, and helped communities set up small businesses.
Judges felt the model’s single strongest point was that it put the beneficiary at the centre. Not only did it remove the need for costly outside intervention to supply water, it created business acumen and encouraged innovation and self-dependency among the local population. And it was based on what people themselves said they needed, rather than provision of what aid agencies felt they ought to have.
The model ticked many boxes: it was replicable, scalable and sustainable, and it would be easy to transfer it to other aid sectors, outside of water and sanitation.
So far, it has been a success. The programme led to the direct sale of water access products to households containing almost 2,500 people. An additional 7,160 individuals secured access to improved water, and the work of the entrepreneurs on broken community pumps renewed access for a further 11,954 individuals.
In total the pilot gave 21,614 individuals access to safe water at a cost per head that was less than half of that of a traditional community water point, and proved that even very poor people are willing to invest.
CC reg no: 1077889
Fighting poverty and transforming lives with entrepreneurship
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