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The FT/IFC Transformational Business Awards are sponsored by the Financial Times and the International Finance Corporation

Beyond Water Wins Praise at the FT/IFC Transformational Business Awards

Posted on: June 7, 2018
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Press Release: LONDON, 7th June 2018.

Beyond Water, a London-based social enterprise, has been HIGHLY COMMENDED for its achievements in sustainable development at the 2018 FT/IFC Transformational Business Awards.

Beyond Water is rolling out an entrepreneurial small business approach promoting low cost water packages for poor households and farmers in Malawi. Treating people as customers not beneficiaries. Offering choice and opportunity.

Speaking after the award Michael Chuter, Pump Aid’s Chief Executive, said: “For decades; governments and NGOs have spent billions on rural water services across Africa, but far too many of the water points they have installed fail to provide the reliable access communities need. Around a third of all community pumps in Malawi are no longer working and many are abandoned when simple repairs could bring them back to life. Beyond Water can deliver improved access to reliable water for half the cost of a traditional community water point and this recognition endorses our belief that there is a clear market even amongst the poorest communities for sustainable water products and services.”

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Above photo: A broken Afri-dev in Malawi, around 1/3 of them are non-functional in Malawi at any one time, and have a lifespan of around 5-7 years.

 
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Above photo: Maria Phiri one of Beyond Water Entrepreneurs makes a living from maintaining and repairing water pumps.

Poor and unreliable access to water in Malawi stops girls going to school, prevents women being more productive and traps rural communities in poverty. While, at the same time, an overbearing foreign aid industry is stifling local businesses and creating a culture of dependency. Foreign aid accounts for 30% of Malawi’s Gross National Income, yet over half the population lives in poverty – a fact that hasn’t changed in 15 years – and, though 85% of Malawians rely on subsistence farming, only 11% of small-scale farmers use any form of irrigation and struggle to produce enough food for consumption, let alone for sale. This is not just an unacceptable situation, it is completely unsustainable one.

Beyond Water’s business-led approach is reversing decades of aid dependency in Malawi by encouraging rural populations to improve their lives through self-investment and entrepreneurship. It increases access to water and improves pump functionality by creating and nurturing networks of profitable small-scale businesses which install and maintain locally manufactured household pumps; which give small-scale farmers access to appropriate and affordable irrigation; and which bring broken community water points back to full functionality.

By treating people as customers not beneficiaries and by creating jobs not dependency, Beyond Water has proved that even very disadvantaged communities are willing to invest in their own improved access to water; that local entrepreneurs can deliver that improved access via a business model; and that this approach has a range of other community benefits; including improving health, encouraging self-reliance, fostering sharing, creating livelihoods and developing economic and weather resilience.

Commenting on the award, Prof. Stefan Allesch-Taylor CBE, Chairman of Pump Aid, said:
“Pump Aid has always been driven by innovation and is a previous recipient of the Pan-African Award for Entrepreneurship, the World Bank Development Marketplace Award and, most recently, the 2017 International Development Charity of the Year. This latest recognition for its social enterprise subsidiary is further evidence of its pioneering work. Beyond Water’s business-led approach is the antithesis of traditional aid and, by rejecting the dependency model, it is restoring independence to some of the poorest people in the world. I am immensely proud of Beyond Water and of all its entrepreneurs.”

Beyond Water is delighted to have secured this prestigious recognition of its work and with it the opportunity to share its pioneering approach with all those seeking to establish sustainable routes to economic and social development. It is keen to speak to investors in the water, health, education and social sectors and is exploring a variety of ways to roll out its approach across Malawi and beyond.

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ENDS

Notes to editors:

Beyond Water is a wholly owned social enterprise of multi-award winning NGO Pump Aid.
For more information on Beyond Water and Pump Aid or to request interviews and high resolution images, please contact Rae Goddard, 0845 504 6972, raegoddard@pumpaid.org

The FT/IFC Transformational Business Awards are sponsored by the Financial Times and the International Finance Corporation and were presented at the Royal Institute of British Architects on 6th June 2018.
For more information on the awards, please contact Rachel Jones, 020 7873 3002, rachel.jones@ft.com