Catalyst Fund, Network News

Catalyst: Footsteps Africa

Name of Project: Rope Pumps for Clean Water
Location: Malawi


1 in 10 people lack access to clean water worldwide. In rural Malawi, approximately 5.6 million Malawians suffer from lack of access to clean water. The water they collect often carries diseases, making entire communities vulnerable. Currently, the government and NGOs in Malawi invest in machine drilling and imported water pumps – technology that is both expensive, hard to maintain and when they break down means that many become ‘ghost’ water points as communities can’t afford to maintain them.

Solution: Footsteps Africa intends to use manual drilling and Rope Pump technology to solve the problem of limited access to clean drinking water in rural Malawi. A rope pump is a simple hand driven water pump that is installed on a borehole to draw water underground. Rope pumps are both sustainable and provide clean drinking water at a very low cost.

What makes this approach different? Rope pumps can be locally made and sourced with recycled materials,  and are simple for community members to use and maintain, unlike imported drilled water pumps. They provide clean drinking water at a fraction of the cost of traditional imported pumps, and help create jobs for local men and women. Most importantly, families will be trained on how to use the pump preventing the cycle of development and obsolescence often found in technology solutions in rural communities.