Saturday, September 30, 2006

Clean Water is Child's Play

In my previous post, I talked about the launch of the Clinton Global Initiative, and how Bill Clinton brought together all of these heavy hitting businesspeople, celebrities, and activists to address global poverty and environment issues.

At this year's event, held last week, even more impressive commitments were made. Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Airlines, pledged to invest a huge sum in fighting Global Warming. Vinod Khosla and others pledged a massive campaign to develop biofuels to reduce oil dependency. And those were only two of the notable commitments made.

But one announcement was really dear to my heart.

Tens of millions of dollars were pledged for "Playpump" projects throughout Africa. I love this idea. Millions of women in Africa walk hours each day to get fresh water, and in many places they are often attacked or otherwise abused along the way. A South African guy named Trevor Field came up with the idea to connect water pumps to old-fashioned merry-go-rounds. Kids play on the merry-go-rounds, and by doing so they pump fresh water to the service. Everyone wins - the kids have a toy to play with and the mothers can come together, share news, socialize, and get clean water without walking for hours.

I especially like this project because the concept got seed funding at the first-ever Development Marketplace that we did at the World Bank before leaving to create GlobalGiving. That was in 2000, and some people wondered whether "cute" little ideas like this could ever get to scale. Well, the announcement at the Clinton Initiative was the first step in a commitment by the Case Foundation to gets tens of millions of dollars channeled to this initiative so that throusands of the Playpumps could be installed all over Africa.

But you don't have to be Clinton, Case, or the US Agency for International Development to help fund a Playpump. $6 will provide clean water for one person for a whole year, and $6o will do the same for ten people. If you want to get ambitious, get some friends together and raise $14,000 to fund an entire pump and provide water for thousands!

PlayPumps: Bringing Water to the Poor in Africa

We will bring clean drinking water to the poor in Mozambique via a next-generation water pump, the Playpump™ water system: a merry-go-round water pump powered by play with a decade of maintenance.

Theme: Health |
Location: Mozambique | Need: $140,000

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