Washington D.C., September 12, 2005
– The South African company producing merry-go-rounds that pump clean
water while children play is expanding its operations to Mozambique. Roundabout
currently has 700 PlayPumps installed in remote communities in South Africa.
The firm is now taking its proven model to Mozambique; the first Pump is
in the ground with 99 more to be installed over the next year. Next
in line is Swaziland, where installations will start later this year.
These are the first steps in an Africa-wide expansion plan, backed by the
International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World
Bank. The aim is to expand PlayPumps in partnership with others to additional
countries where lack of access to water is pressing such as Lesotho, Botswana,
Zambia, Uganda, Tanzania, Malawi and Kenya in the near future.
The unique water pumps are driven by a children's ‘merry-go-round’ or
‘roundabout’, which provide fun playground equipment for rural
children, and at the same time extract clean drinking water from underground
boreholes at a much more efficient rate than conventional handpumps.
To ensure operational sustainability after the PlayPump has been installed,
maintenance is provided by training a local entrepreneur and is funded
by the revenues generated from commercial and public health advertising
placed on overhead water storage tanks. Donated funds cover the initial
cost of drilling boreholes and producing and installing the Pumps.
A more efficient and reliable supply of clean water has a number of advantages
for local communities including reducing water-born illnesses and relieving
head and neck strain caused by carrying heavy loads of water over long
distances. It also frees up time from collecting water, which can be spent
at school or on income generating activities. As fetching water traditionally
is carried out by the females in the household, this particularly benefits
women and girls in the communities where Play-Pumps are installed.
In sub-Saharan Africa, more than 300 million people lack adequate access
to safe drinking water.
“Where PlayPumps have been installed, the impact has been tremendous.
Impact can be increased by scaling up Roundabout’s operations and replicating
their sustainable model to other countries in Africa, and perhaps beyond”
said Harold Rosen, Director of IFC’s Grassroots Business Initiative. GBI
is an initiative that seeks to strengthen, scale-up and replicate social
enterprises that create sustainable opportunities for the poor.
Richard Ranken, Director of IFC’s Africa department added: “Roundabout
is an example where the innovation and experience of a private sector firm
is leveraged to deliver big results on the grassroots level. This is the
type of projects we aim to support through programs such as the Grassroots
Support for the installation of PlayPumps in Mozambique was provided by
the World Food Programme, UNICEF, TNT, the Mozambique Departments of Education
and Water Affairs, the Canadian Development Agency (CIDA) and the Lemelson
For more information about IFC’s Grassroots Business Initiative please
The mission of IFC (www.ifc.org)
is to promote sustainable private sector investment in developing countries,
helping to reduce poverty and improve people’s lives. IFC finances private
sector investments in the developing world, mobilizes capital in the international
financial markets, helps clients improve social and environmental sustainability,
and provides technical assistance and advice to governments and businesses.
From its founding in 1956 through FY04, IFC has committed more than $44
billion of its own funds and arranged $23 billion in syndications for 3,143
companies in 140 developing countries. IFC’s worldwide committed portfolio
as of FY04 was $17.9 billion for its own account and $5.5 billion held
for participants in loan syndications.