Ingenious pump design from Practical Action – Blog Action Day 2010

October 15, 2010 at 6:47 pm 1 comment

Re-blogged from Other Oxford.
Written by Tom.
Originally posted October 15, 2010.

“I’m going a bit off-piste in honour of Blog Action Day. It’s a good excuse to talk about a Practical Action project I heard about a little while ago, for no other reason than it fits with “water” theme, and it’s really, really cool.

In early 2008 I was working with Oxfam on their response to the post-election violence in Kenya.  The consequences of the violence and intimidation were severe – hundreds of thousands fled their homes, taking shelter in camps where agencies like Oxfam worked to provide clean water and sanitation.

But even in peaceful times, long-term drought means that access to water cannot be taken for granted in Kenya. The small community of Kipsongo near Kitale in the Rift Valley is typical of the area. Most rely on subsistence farming, with the women of the households responsible for collecting water from deep boreholes, often spending hours at the hand pump or treadle. But in Kipsongo Practical Action have devised a brilliant alternative.

The Playpump is essentially a playground roundabout or merry-go-round. Just like the kids in your local park, the children of Kipsongo have a great time playing and spinning. The difference is that the Playpump uses the rotating wheel of the merry-go-round to pump water from a borehole deep beneath it. So the more the children play, the more water is pumped to the surface. Great fun for the children and a great time saver for the mums.

I love the fun and simplicity of this project. Makes me wonder what other applications there could be for playground solutions. Click here to support Practical Action in this and other ingenious projects.”

>> Play-Pump was also featured in Design Like You Give a Damn. Read more at inhabitat.

>> October 15’s daily design idea is health is a global design issue.


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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. elenasc  |  October 15, 2010 at 8:14 pm

    Thanks to be Part of Blog Action Day!
    Please read and share my post about Water’s footprint in Fashion: you’d be surprised at how much impact your personal or family clothing preferences have on the environment.
    You can make the difference!


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