Elephant Pumps: Pump Aid's Business Solution to a Social Problem

            
 
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Case Details:

Case Code : LDEN072
Case Length : 17 Pages
Period : 1998-2010
Pub Date : 2010
Teaching Note : Not Available
Organization : Pump Aid.
Industry : Social / Safe Water
Countries : Africa

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For delivery in electronic format: Rs. 500;
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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.



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A Social Innovation? Contd...

Established in 1998, Pump Aid adopted an innovative approach to providing water and sanitation solutions to communities in rural Africa by installing cost-effective water pumps and toilet systems. To overcome the water crisis in sub-Saharan Africa and to establish sustainable supplies of clean water, Pump Aid developed a low-cost pump called the Elephant Pump. The Elephant Pumps were built using local materials and were based on the rope and washer pump technology. As the pump handle was turned, water was drawn up by plastic washers attached to a rope. The pump could lift water from up to 50 meters deep and produced one liter of water every second.

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Experts felt that the pumps were innovative, cost effective, and could be maintained by the rural communities without any outside assistance.

The pedal powered mechanism also made pumping water fun as children played on the pumps. The Elephant Pump, initially developed and tested in Zimbabwe, was mainly installed in Malawi and Zimbabwe where the incidence of water-borne diseases was common.

According to some analysts, the installation of the community-centered Elephant Pumps improved the socio-economic life of the people in the rural villages in Africa. The pumps contributed to community development and created a positive impact on the livelihood of villagers in terms of gender equality, health, and time-savings.

It was found that the quality and quantity of water used by the people improved, thus preventing the occurrence of water-related diseases. Other African countries were impressed with the social initiative undertaken by Pump Aid in Zimbabwe and invited the charity to introduce the Elephant Pumps in their regions too. As the popularity of the Elephant Pump project increased, Pump Aid planned to scale up its initiative in other countries...

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