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A household pump light


Posted on: June 13, 2017
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Full Press Release:

Pump Aid has won the International Aid and Development Award at the 2017 UK Charity Awards. The London-based development charity achieved this award for their innovative small business approach to relieving water poverty in Malawi. The Charity Awards is a year-round programme to celebrate and highlight best practice across the sector.

Governments and NGOs have invested billions in rural water services across Africa yet many water points today are not in working order and leave the communities that depend on them without access to the quality of water that they need. Nearly 50% of the boreholes and piston pumps in Africa are no longer working and large numbers of pumps have been abandoned when simple repairs could have brought them back into life. Responding to this challenge, Pump Aid has piloted a business-led approach that has transformed the lives and life chances of almost 22,000 people and it is for this that they have received this prestigious award.

The project trained 25 local entrepreneurs in how to safely dig wells and how to make and install low cost, low technology, locally manufactured, household water pumps. The entrepreneurs were also trained in how to protect wells from pollution and collapse, how to repair and maintain community pumps and also in a range of basic business skills.

Michael Chuter, Pump Aid’s Chief Executive said:
“From day one we set out to disprove the assumption that poor communities are unable or unwilling to pay for the services they need and to challenge the dominant approach of the aid sector which creates dependency instead of encouraging self-sufficiency. This project delivered improved access to reliable water for half the cost of a traditional rural community water pump, and demonstrated that there is a market even amongst the poorest communities for such products and services.”

The future for these communities has been transformed:
>Safe water is now only 11 metres away from pump owners, where previously it might have been over 500m and more;

>86% of pump users report an increase in water usage, particularly for handwashing and hygiene purposes; and

>Pump functionality has risen from an average of 55% to almost 100%.

A household pump, Malawi

This approach has also opened up other opportunities for local communities, with local farmers seizing the benefits of using water for irrigation and Pump Aid’s entrepreneurs expanded their product range to include water filters and latrines. These benefits were felt not just by the communities, but also by the entrepreneurs themselves.

As Hopeson Phiri, a Pump Aid Self-supply entrepreneur, said:
“Through my business I’ve managed to buy many things. Previously I didn’t have a reliable house but, because of the business I have done, I’ve been able to put an iron roof on it.  I’m really happy because this is important to me and my family.”

Commenting on the award, Prof. Stefan Allesch-Taylor CBE, Chairman of Pump Aid, said:
“Pump Aid is driven by innovation and is a previous recipient of the Pan-African Award for Entrepreneurship, the St Andrews Prize for the Environment and the World Bank Development Marketplace Award for Development Innovations. This latest award is further recognition of its pioneering work. Self-supply is the antithesis of ‘traditional aid’ and, by eschewing the dependency model and treating people as customers not beneficiaries, we have restored independence to some of the poorest people in the world. I am immensely proud of Pump Aid and of all our entrepreneurs.”

Pump Aid was presented with the International Aid and Development award, one of 10 categories at a ceremony at the Pavilion, at the Tower of London on Thursday 8 June, hosted by BBC Journalist and presenter Louise Minchin.

John Low, Chief Executive of the Charities Aid Foundation and member of the UK Charity Awards judging panel, said
“Nominees this year are examples of charities at their very best.  They are truly leaders in their field innovating, supporting and helping people in communities across the UK and overseas.”

Pump Aid is delighted to have secured this international recognition of its work and with it the opportunity to share its pioneering approach with the rest of the sector. Pump Aid is now working to scale up this project across Malawi and beyond.

Winner Logo

Find out more:
>Watch our video and meet the entrepreneurs
>Visit our latest blog with photos of the Charity Awards Ceremony
>Subscribe to Pump Aid’s monthly e-newsletter to receive our latest news and updates