Pump Aid and the benefits of clean water

In the UK access to clean water is something we take for granted. The complete opposite is true for many people around the world. Pump Aid was founded to provide a sustainable water solution and better sanitation provisions for communities in need.

The Elephant Pump has transformed the lives of these communities but especially women and children. Water & sanitation go hand in hand so read more about how Pump Aid is empowering these communities to break free from water poverty.

4R Sponsored Pumps change lives so contact us now on 01462 440 388 and make a difference


  • Rural communities risk debilitating disease and death with every sip of water with 880 million people using and drinking water from unsafe sources
  • Nearly half of the developing world’s population are lacking adequate sanitation
  • Just under two million people a year are killed by diarrhoeal infections alone, mostly vulnerable children, almost 4500 a day
  • The World Health Authority estimates that 94% of these diarrhoeal cases are preventable through modifications to the rural environment, that increase access to clean water and improved sanitation


  • Usually, it’s women and girls who are responsible for collecting water in pots and wash buckets from wells and scraped holes in the ground that are often dirty and unsafe
  • They walk, on average, six kilometres a day, carrying 20 litres of water at a time
  • These journeys expose them to sexual violence and even animal attack
  • An open well is dangerous for children and elderly people as they might slip and fall in
  • Water can be easily contaminated with rubbish and animals falling in

Education & Development

  • Cleaner water from sources closer to the community allows for more children to attend school
  • Time spent collecting water is time not spent tending crops, not being educated, not looking after children. It is time wasted
  • These communities are condemned to subsistence levels of agricultural production. Access to clean water provides more resource to farming therefore more produce and more income

The Elephant Pump

Pump Aid’s founders developed the Elephant Pump, a low cost, community-centred approach to sustainable water production. The technology was so successful that Pump Aid has been able to provide a lifetime supply of clean water to over 1 million people across Zimbabwe, Malawi and Liberia.

How else can water change lives?

Water can be used to irrigate and grow crops which not only improves diet but can also generates an income by selling any surplus produce. Elephant Pumps use simple but effective technology that can be maintained by poor rural communities without any assistance.

The local community comes together to assist in the building process, providing materials such as bricks, sand, stones and unskilled labour.

Pump Aid provides maintenance workshops to ensure all community members are trained to maintain the Elephant Pump. They also offer health and hygiene education in partnership with locally trained medics.

Human rights

We believe that access to clean water is a fundamental human right. Pump Aid have found a practical way of helping communities help themselves and 4R Office is proud to support them in their efforts. We hope you agree.

Water & Sanitation

The dangers of contaminated water

  • Unsafe water causes diseases such as cholera, typhoid and dysentery which in turn kill millions of people every year
  • 40% of the world’s population suffer without a safe toilet, that’s 2.5 billion people
  • More than half of hospital beds in Sub Saharan Africa are occupied by patients suffering from sanitation and water related diseases
  • 4000 children die from these diseases every day – they're the biggest killer of young children, killing over five times more than HIV/AIDS and twice as many as malaria

What happens without clean water?

If people do not have firewood or a paraffin stove with which to boil up drinking water to make it safe, they have no alternative but to give it to their children knowing it could make them seriously ill or even kill them. Using firewood to boil water brings further problems - deforestation which leads to soil erosion which means less fertile land to grow food.

The solution
Water pumps provide a solution to this problem, delivering a supply of clean water pumped from the ground close to homesteads. 

Pump Aid facilitators employ a process known as Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS). The process helps communities realise the importance of latrines and encourages them to form task forces to ensure that every household has a latrine and uses it. Pump Aid works with communities to see which sanitation technologies offer the most sustainable options.

Women & Water

 Education & Safety

Lack of clean water disproportionately affects women and children.

  • 40 billion working hours are lost each year to collecting water.
  • The burden of having no access to water falls most heavily on women.
  • Hours spent collecting water is hours not doing essential domestic chores or generating income.
  • Walking long distances, sometimes alone, means that women and girls are vulnerable to attack.
  • Children miss out on education because instead of going to school they have to either collect water themselves or stay at home to look after their younger siblings and/or take care of essential chores whilst their mothers collect water.

    The Goodwill Ambassador

     "Think of how you spend five hours of your day - watching television, meeting friends, eating out, going to the gym or in your workplace. Then imagine instead that those five hours were spent trekking through parched land to find and carry water to survive. Each and every day. That is the reality for many women.

    An Elephant pump delivers so much more than clean water and better health. It gives women the luxury of time for themselves, time to become educated, time to learn new skills that can provide them with an income and get them off the relentless cycle of poverty."

    Corinne Bailey Rae, Pump Aid Ambassador


    Corinne has been a Goodwill Ambassador for Pump Aid since 2007. She is very passionate about the issues of water and sanitation and has spoken in the media about why she is helping to raise the awareness about the work of Pump Aid and the obstacles people are facing without access to water and sanitation.

    Malawi visit

    Corinne visited a Pump Aid project in Malawi in 2007. She spent time with the Pump Aid team assisting them and the community in building an Elephant Toilet. She also met members of the community whom Pump Aid has worked with, hearing about the issues that they face and how technologies such as the Elephant Pump and Elephant Toilet have improved their health, hygiene and living conditions.

    "I hooked up with Pump Aid, which helps villages dig wells so the women - its always the women - don't have to walk miles to get water. It's not only tiring, but often dangerous. In some parts of the world, there are many sexual assaults on women and girls as they leave the village.

    It was quite an eye opener going to these rural villages. I could hardly lift the buckets the girls used when they were full; I thought my neck was going to snap. I know it is a terrible cliche and patronising to say they were poor but happy, but they certainly had something we have lost, the way they look after each other."

    You can find more out about Corinne on her website.


    Together we can make a difference