Pump Aid made waves at the “L’Eau Down” Wet Network on 5th July. The triannual event is organised by multinational engineering and professional services company Arup in collaboration with legal firm Pinsent Masons to provide a platform for water themed engineering start-ups and innovators to present their ideas to a forum of water industry and engineering professionals. Given Pump Aid’s penchant for innovation, we felt very much at home there!
Our Partnerships and New Business Manager Margaret Newens made a presentation on why Pump Aid’s unique model for tackling water poverty has been so successful. Many of the assembled specialists were not unfamiliar with the problems we have been addressing – particularly the fact that 40% of water points in Malawi are non-functional and that, largely because the traditional aid model relies upon bringing in external contractors to fix them, they frequently remain out of use for over a year. So there was a genuine interest in hearing how Pump Aid has challenged this model with such great ideas and results.
Margaret explained how setting up small businesses is improving livelihoods, food security, the local economy and over-all life chances by bringing the combined benefits of safe water and sanitation facilities, improved irrigation and farming practices and increased access to early years education. The audience was impressed by what we have done to build resilience and self-reliance through economically empowering the communities in which we are working, and not at all surprised to hear that we had been singled out by the UK Charity Awards for our success.
This event was a great opportunity for Pump Aid to raise its profile, and our presentation proved an excellent foundation for many conversations over the food and wine that followed! Even our pump enjoyed the outing, helping us to further illustrate the unique beauty and simplicity of our work. We hope to develop some of these discussions and expressions of interest into tangible support over the coming months.