September 6, 2012
People often ask us why our projects differ from site to site. Why, for example, have we installed solar powered pumps and storage tanks in Kenya, but handpumps in Liberia, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, or rope-and-pulley removable-cover wells in Mali? The answer lies in our flexible approach adapting to local conditions. We strive to use appropriate technology for each individual community’s needs and capabilities, working with our local partners on the ground to determine what is the best way for the beneficiaries to access clean water and maintain the project themselves for many years after implementation.
One of our more frequently used technologies is the handpump design seen below:
Here’s how it works: The interior cylinder of the pump contains two disks that together create a seal, forming suction inside the pumping chamber. When the pump handle is pushed down, the lever action draws the disks up, and that upward movement in turn draws the water into the pumping chamber. Pulling the handle upwards results in an opposite lever action on the disks, forcing the water out of the chamber through the spout located at the top of the handpump.
This diagram was created by our pro bono Art Director, Sai-Ek Praditpolpanich, after he accompanied us on a trip to D.R. Congo in August 2011, to see for himself how a handpump works. Here is a picture of him working this very type of pump!