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Timeline: The PlayPump Trail

The idea, problems, and overselling by the media and its backers.

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Timeline Credits: TEXT/RESEARCH: JACKIE BENNION AND REINHARD CATE, FLASH DESIGN/PRODUCTION: SAM BAILEY/REBECCA GRAY

Every Drop Counts -- Additional Resources and Links

Links to a variety of aid organizations working in water stressed regions using a diversity of water programs

One Water [The One Foundation]
The UK-based charity is one of the biggest donors to the PlayPump program, funding more than 615 sites in South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland and Malawi. The nonprofit restricts installation of the PlayPumps to schools with a minimum of 350 children in attendance, and says feedback on the pumps’ performance has been positive. During One Water's most recent audit, it reported that 96 percent of its PlayPumps were working well, providing clean drinking water and irrigation to grow vegetables.

WaterAid
One of the largest water charities, WaterAid provides safe water and sanitation solutions and hygiene education as part of its integrated approach to working in water stressed regions. The group operates throughout sub-Saharan Africa, and in parts of Asia and the Pacific. Water Aid has also adopted a variety of technologies, which are tailored to a population’s specific needs.

Water for People
With a focus on locally sustainable drinking water, sanitation facilities and hygiene educate programs; the Denver-based Water for People works in the African countries of Malawi, Rwanda and Uganda. Their approach is to create total water and sanitation coverage for entire communities. In October 2009, Water for People became PlayPumps International’s implementing partner and was granted the remaining inventory of pumps. For more on the organization’s water provisioning ideas, read, “Rethinking Hydro Philanthropy”.

Water for All
Like many organizations that realize there is no “one-size-fits-all” approach to addressing the water crisis in Africa, Water for All provides a variety of clean water technologies to communities that have no reliable source of clean water. Working in hundreds of communities throughout South Africa, Swaziland, Mozambique, Zambia, Lesotho, Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Ethiopia, Uganda and Zimbabwe, the organization installs a number of site-appropriate technologies including solar pumps, hybrid pumps, wind-powered pumps and water filtration systems.

Drop in the Bucket
Formed in 2006 in Los Angeles, the group has developed a three-step water sanitation system that links the key issues of water, sanitation and hygiene.  Their goal is to implement reliable water devices that are cost-effective and relatively easy and cheap to maintain. Some of the existing technologies they are using include charbone filtering (often used to refine sugar), rainwater harvesting and the Roundabout pump. Each solution is modified to meet particular community needs.  Read more about the company’s innovations. Watch a video about the organization here.