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Hundred Pump project brings water to thousands

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Johnny Cruz

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Columbus, OH — Design Outreach (DO), a nonprofit humanitarian engineering organization, in collaboration with World Vision, is launching the Hundred Pump Project — an initiative that is bringing clean water to nearly 40,000 Africans who lack access to it today. DO, along with numerous donors, is raising more than $900,000 to fund this important initiative.

As with past pump installations, World Vision is offering significant support for each LifePump. It does so by working with each village to prepare and dig the well, then lay a concrete pad for the pump’s installation, which is completed by the local World Vision personnel and the DO technical team. World Vision is the largest nongovernmental provider of clean water in the developing world — reaching one new person with clean water every 30 seconds.

“This is a tremendous opportunity to bring clean water to villages in Africa who desperately need it,” said Dr. Greg Bixler, CEO, co-founder of DO and engineering professor at the Ohio State University. “Having local access to water gives these villagers — especially women and girls who are usually tasked with retrieving water for their families — time to be as productive as they can to care for their family, work or go to school. That’s a benefit that is just as important as clean, reliable water.”

“We are already building LifePumps and will be shipping several of them soon to arrive in Africa this summer,” said Bixler, who noted that Ethiopia, Kenya, Mali, Malawi and Zambia would receive the first LifePumps. “The DO team will be making trips this summer and fall to install the pumps. Our goal is to install the first 30 pumps in 2014.”

“World Vision is excited to partner with Design Outreach, who share the mission of finding innovative solutions to reduce poverty,” said Dr. Greg Allgood, vice president of water at World Vision U.S. "The LifePump is important because it allows us to reach water at significant depths. We're making great progress in addressing the global water crisis and the Hundred Pump Project helps fulfill our vision that every child have clean water.”

On June 11, DO is hosting an event at the new Heart of Africa exhibition at the Columbus Zoo & Aquarium to kick-start the Hundred Pump Project fundraising effort. Because of its experience in Malawi in 2013, photos from the LifePump installation there are being included in the Heart of Africa exhibit which will be seen by more than two million visitors to the zoo this year.

The LifePump is a hand-cranked pump that draws water from depths as great as 325 feet (100 meters) — two times the limit of similar devices (a new model, one that reaches 500 feet, is in development). LifePump’s progressive cavity design acts pulls water from the deep aquifers common in Africa.

“When we first came to Africa, we found broken pumps and pumps needing repair. But most were outdated with parts that are no longer in production,” added Bixler. “The problem was more than needing a few spare parts. A new design was needed — an easy to use, powerful pump capable of reaching water deep underground.”

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About Design Outreach:
Design Outreach is a non-profit humanitarian engineering organization founded by Christians that creates life-sustaining solutions for developing countries. DO works with volunteers, donors and suppliers in creating products that create impact on the fight against poverty, particularly on the forefront of freshwater production.

Design Outreach envisions developing countries empowered to face the challenges of poverty through properly engineering everyday products. To achieve this vision, DO collaborates with established field partners who know and live with the people who will eventually use the product.  This invaluable anthropological, customer-based approach to product design is the key to the sustainability and scalability of their systems.

About World Vision:
World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families, and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. World Vision serves all people regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, or gender. For more information, please visit www.WorldVision.org/press or on Twitter @WorldVisionNews.