Children Using the Play Pump
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A South African company has come up with a new device that reduces the toil of collecting water and uses the energy of children at play as the power supply. The play pump operates on basic windmill equipment which is accessible in co-operative stores throughout Africa and can be found in most other parts of the world as well.


Children Using the Play Pump Female: The energy of children at play is being harness to ease the burden on their mothers. Instead of pumping water by hand, the children are doing it for them. Trevor Field: If we could make it a little bit easier for them and that’s what the array we triggered this idea is that when women gets to the water pump, they don’t have to physically workout on a hand pump. In line, individually, the children have actually pumped the water for the community. Female: Another major advantage of the play pump is that the water can be safely stored in an overhead tank even behind these advertising boards. All that seemed just to upgrade the pump with the energy of children at play. Children at the master school 0056, eastern Johannesburg have no idea that they are involved in the scheme that spreading throughout the poor villages and deprive urban areas of South Africa. Male: Children at the Thabong Nursery School in Daveyton, eastern Johannesburg have no idea that they are involved in the scheme but it’s spreading throughout the whole village and deprived urban areas of South Africa. Crosby Thobela: Children are allowed to take their own choices. But funny enough, there hasn’t been any time that you wouldn’t find children wanting to play with that because they are not aware that they're doing something for us. They are just playing. These playing toys for them are very scarce and now the surprise with it all, we then look forward to just getting a ride on that swing. So it’s something that is in demand in as far as it’s truly not concerned. Female: Fifty two roundabouts have already been built. So how they did work? Trevor Field: They got a lot of pneumatic, it goes up and down. Female: And that’s how it works. Trevor Field: That’s how it works. It’s that simple as that. Female: Okay. Crosby Thobela: It works on basic windmill equipment. We didn’t want to reinvent the mill. We wanted to just put equipment in the ground that we could easily access in cooperative hardware stores throughout Africa. So what is actually below surface is a standard windmill equipment. It’s a positive displacement cylinder with the rising rods and pipes. That’s all it is. The equipment inside the unit is the chic basic equipment that converge the rotational movement into vertical movement. It depends about. It depends on the cylinder. You need to balance between the depths of the burrowed hole and the amount of water that’s available. But it pumps up to about four liters per revolution. So it’s very efficient, much more efficient than hand pump. On max, on theory it will pump 1400 liters an hour which a lot. On average, it’s about $2000.00 to go with the hand pump. This equipment is about - I’d say $5000.00 personal equipments. But it’s going to be made to a certain standard even if you got children playing here. And we wouldn’t want -- I wouldn’t want this device to be made and sort of cost cutting environment whereby there was any danger of the kids injuring themselves because the thing was made out of inferior materials. We've tried this. We've proved it and tested it. And that’s not getting on that one. Female: The Thabong Nursery School play pump is irrigating a market garden run by members of the community were used to be unemployed. Female: Before I was just sitting at home. I didn’t have any job, so I was sitting at home. The play pump helping us a lot because when the children are playing there, we are getting a lot of water so that we can water our garden because there was no water here. So that play pump helps us a lot. Female: But most communities are too poor to install the pump. Trevor Field has an answer to that too. He sees the tower as an ideal advertising hoarding. Trevor Field: They pay us a monthly advertising amount. We put this equipment there for nothing. So it’s free. Basically, all you got to do is playing the roundabout. They’ve got huge advertising budgets and they have to advertise anyway. What we’re doing is providing them a method whereby they can advertise in a productive form to people who really need this assistance. It just works for everybody. Female: Trevor Field sees the hoardings as an opportunity to create awareness about HIV/AIDS. Trevor Field: My vision is to put messages up there to warn people about the dangers of HIV/AIDS infection because I think that’s a personal thing for me because we got judge for problem in South Africa and the rest of Africa. Now if we know that the advertising message works, if we can do the graphics or the messages who was able to call us out or into bed or whatever effectively enough, we can hopefully slow down the spread of this essential virus. Female: Of course, Trevor Field has to earn a living. Trevor Field: I'm not kind of god by any stretch of the imagination. I need to make money. But if I can get advertising, if I can provide water for people and fun for children, it makes women life easy in the rural area, I think that is it not just basic needs. I think this technology is transferable over the world. There are lots of places that have got the same problems with water or the same amount of children to power the unit and there are lots of places that got a dreadful population of HIV/AIDS infection. If you want to find out more about us, we've got an email address which is or you can check out the information at the end of the program.