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Roundabout PlayPump


The Roundabout PlayPump uses the energy of children at play to operate a water pump. It is manufactured by the South African company Roundabout Outdoor. It operates in a similar way to a windmill-driven water pump.

At a cost of approximately R96,000 (approximately US$14,000)[1], it is suitable for shared use by villages, particularly in areas where water is accessed from deep underground (up to 100 meters) using a bore.

There are more than 700 PlayPumps in sub-Saharan Africa, providing clean drinking water to more than one million impoverished people. On September 20, 2006, at the Clinton Global Initiative, First Lady Laura Bush announced a $16.4 million public-private partnership to install more PlayPumps -- the beginning of an effort to install 4,000 pumps to provide water to up to 10 million people in Africa by 2010. The announcement includes $10 million from the U.S. government, $5 million from the Case Foundation, and $1.4 million from The MCJ Foundation.



The PlayPump water system is a like a playground merry-go-round attached to a water pump. The spinning motion pumps underground water into a 2,500-liter tank raised seven meters above ground. The water in the tank is easily dispensed by a tap valve. According to the manufacturer the pump can raise up to 1400 liters of water per hour from a depth of 40 meter. Excess water is diverted below ground again.

The storage tank has a four-sided advertising panel. Two sides are used to advertise products, thereby providing money for maintenance of the pump, and the other two sides are devoted to public health messages about topics like HIV/AIDS prevention. There are more than 900 PlayPumps in four countries of Sub-Saharan Africa, providing clean drinking water to approximately 1 million people in need.


The sub-Saharan region of Africa suffers from a lack of clean water unequal to any other region in the world and has the highest population of HIV and AIDS victims. The PlayPump offers not only clean water, but potentially life-saving messages that can help prevent the spread of the virus. The PlayPump won the World Bank’s Development Marketplace Award in 2000 for its effectiveness both at pumping water and communicating HIV/AIDS messages through billboards on the water towers.

Apart from the health benefits to the community of clean, easily accessible drinking water, and the recreation opportunities given the children, PlayPumps allow children to spend more time in school (instead of hauling water pumped by their parents) and enable women who formerly had to transport large containers of water over great distances to spend more time at home or engaged in other activities that provide additional food or income to their families.

Roundabout Outdoor and PlayPumps International

Roundabout Outdoor is a company that manufactures, installs, and maintains PlayPump water systems throughout sub-Saharan Africa. PlayPumps International is a nonprofit that raises the funds to donate PlayPump water systems to African communities and schools. PlayPumps International is registered as a US 501(c)3 organization and as an independent South African non-government organization. Roundabout Outdoor collaborates with PlayPumps International to provide PlayPumps to communities and schools in need of clean drinking water.

Related topics

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  • Water privatisation in South Africa Roundabout PlayPumps in Attractions - installation of PlayPumps in attractions around the world to raise awareness about how African communities benefit from these simple yet, life-changing Roundabouts.


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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Roundabout_PlayPump". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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