Trevor Field and the PlayPumps of Africa

            
 
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Case Details:

Case Code : LDEN057
Case Length : 21 Pages
Period : 1998-2008
Pub Date : 2009
Teaching Note : Available
Organization : Roundbout Outdoor; Playpumps International
Industry : Social Sector
Countries : Africa

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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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"If I can make money and do good at the same time, that's great. I'm a philanthrapreneur."1

Trevor Field, Founder and Director, Roundabout Outdoor, in 2007.

"We believe that the PlayPump system, due to its practical, economic, and social viability, is a progressive and creative way to provide free fresh drinking water to rural communities… With the PlayPump we can make children happy, reduce the workload for women, make a visible step forward in rural water development, and slow down the spread of HIV/AIDS."2

- Buyelwa Sonjica, Water Affairs Minister, South Africa, in 2005.

Water, Sustainability & Child's Play

In 2007, the PlayPump Water System (PlayPump) was nominated for the prestigious National Design Award, presented by the Smithsonian's Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum.

Though the water system failed to win the design award, it had won many hearts across the world ever since its launch in the mid-1990s, due to its ability to solve one of the most pressing problems in peri-urban and rural areas of Africa - water (Refer to Exhibit I for a brief note on the water problem).

Leadership and Entrepreneurship Case Studies | Case Study in Management, Operations, Strategies, Leadership and Entrepreneurship, Case Studies

In Africa, the water crisis is quite severe with around 40 percent of Africans lacking access to potable water supply. In addition to the deaths and economic loss caused by the lack of access to water, women and girls, on whom the burden of obtaining water for the family falls, have to trek long distances and spend hours collecting water from dams, springs, rivers, streams, and farm reservoirs. Where such traditional sources of water are not available, they have to rely on bore-wells, toiling hard over hand pumps. While this is back-breaking work, alternatives such as use of diesel, petrol or electric pumps are too costly to install and maintain.3

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Leadership and Entrepreneurship Case Studies | Case Study in Management, Operations, Strategies, Leadership and Entrepreneurship, Case Studies


1] "PlayPumps Founder Has Unique Name for His Work," www.wdi.umich.edu, January 15, 2007.
2] Nicholas McDiarmid, "Borehole Pumps While Children Go Roundabout," www.search.sebinet.co.za, August / September 2005.
3] Nicholas McDiarmid, "Borehole Pumps While Children Go Roundabout," www.search.sebinet.co.za, August / September 2005.


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