One innovative approach to affordable, low-carbon water access is the KickStart MoneyMaker Max Irrigation Pump, located in Nairobi, Kenya. This company/non-profit organization manufactures a manually operated, high-quality irrigation pump that works like a modified Stairmaster. The suction and pressure generated by the pump allows farmers to irrigate up to 2 acres per day. It’s a much more cost-effective, ecological solution than a diesel irrigation pump that comes with recurring and rising fuel costs.
Kickstart’s philosophy is that empowering people — not simply giving handouts — will solve world poverty. So in addition to making an excellent and affordable technology, they also help individuals become small business owners who not only use Kickstart’s pump, but sell it as well. In the process, they are able to generate enough income through pump sales and service to lift their families out of poverty. So far, Kickstart estimates that more than 250,000 pumps have been sold through almost 100,000 successful new businesses.
The Kickstart MoneyMaker Max can pump water from a river, pond, or shallow well. The “treadle pump” design is the brainchild of International Development Enterprises (iDE). With a focus on income and livelihood, for decades iDE has brought to the forefront low-cost, high impact water-related solutions for the rural poor. Their important work continues today in Asia, Africa and Latin America.
Additional examples of low-cost and ecologically-friendly water access success stories can be found in the Ecological Handprints eBook.