(The Humanitarian Social Network)
Here is a recent article on smart hand pumps: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-18358766
I was discussing this idea with some colleagues the other day and although I can see the positive impact of gaining access to scientific data I am not convinced about the real improvement for the communties, so I would like to discuss this with you.
Besides the fact that in many rural areas (e.g. in our project area in the North of Ethiopia) there is no phone coverage, I also think that the positioning of the transmitter is problematic, as the handle (in our experience) is the one part of the pump that gets stolen most frequently. Furthermore, most of the time the water officials/mechanics actually know when a pump is broken (the community informs them) but just can't be bothered to come out to the rural area to repair it.
So while I definitely see how it can be useful to collect scientific information I also think that other factors such as community-ownership and cooperation with/commitment of local authorities/technicians need to be solved first...
What do you think, what is your experience?
I'd be happy to hear different opinions!
Thank you for posting this article! The org I work for completed a program with boreholes/handpumps two years ago in the district Oxford is piloting this program. I hope they don't take off the pumps maintained by the community committees to install these that will supposedly be maintained by district officials.
We're doing a program evaluation in July, so hopefully we can make sure the communities will continue on with collecting money, performing maintenance and buying spare parts as needed.