Self-supply: the sustainable approach for water supply

Pump Aid has been trialling a different approach to reducing water poverty called Self-supply. Now, individuals can make improvements to their own water supplies with no financial aid from charities or governments.

Watch our video to see our work in progress, and find out more below:

Why we need a different approach to solve water poverty:

Whilst many initiatives led by governments and NGOs have done a great deal to improve the rural water supply in Africa, 60% of people in Malawi don’t have access to improved water, 40% of all water points are non-functional as they end up abandoned when they break down, even though a simple fix could put the pump back into operation.

What have we done so far?

Through DFID’s Challenge Fund, we have spent the past two years working alongside UNICEF to train and mentor local entrepreneurs to equip them with the skills they need to set up viable businesses to build sustainable water capacity in their own communities.

Throughout the 2 years we provided intensive support to a group of 25 motivated WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) entrepreneurs through business and marketing skills to enable them to supply a range of products and services to community water points, individual households, and small scale farmers. We have linked customers with small scale savings and loan initiatives to provide an affordable means for investment.

The social impact has been astonishing. In just 12 months, over 20,000 people in poor rural communities have gained access to secure, sustainable water for communal, individual and farming use. Establishing local supply businesses has helped make water pumps in rural areas more sustainable, as well as creating more social and economic opportunities for the entrepreneurs, involved in our programme, and their wider communities. This entrepreneurial approach has trained local trades people, such as welders and metal workers to build, repair and maintain water pumps.

This project has shown that poor rural communities in Malawi have both the desire, and the means to be able to invest in their own supplies. The impact has been achieved through the efforts and innovation of local communities which reduces dependence on NGOs and any other humanitarian assistance, transforming lives forever.

Find out more:

Download the Self-Supply PowerPoint presentation.

Download the two-page project overview.

Download the WEDC paper. (The Water, Engineering and Development Centre).

Download the Self Supply in Kasungu Context Report (2015) which describes key factors in the potential for self-supply to take hold in Kasungu District Malawi.

Download the Pump Aid Self Supply Pilot Project Final Report May 2016.

To read stories from some of our entrepreneurs and customers from this programme please visit our series of blogs.

For further details on the results of this pilot project check out our Self-supply Project Summary and Results paper from our pilot in Kasungu.

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