This is the VOA Special English Development Report.
simple water pump is helping to improve the lives of poor families in several
Asian and African countries.
The treadle pump is based
on a design developed in the nineteen seventies by Norwegian engineer Gunnar
Barnes. It can be made locally. A group based in the United States, IDE, International
Development Enterprises, has created programs in different countries.
The program in India won
an Ashden Award in two thousand six for using local sources of energy to
improve quality of life. Last year the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
awarded IDE twenty-seven million dollars. The money is to be used to expand small
irrigation projects to the other half of India's twenty-eight states.
treadle pump is easy to build from bamboo or other wood and two metal cylinders
with pistons. The pistons go up and down as a person stands on lever devices --
treadles -- and uses a natural walking motion.
How many hours a day the pump needs to
be operated depends on the season and how much water is needed for crops. It could
be two hours a day. It could be seven hours a day.
Small children sometimes stand with their parents on
the treadles. Everyone in the family can take turns operating the pump.
The Acumen Fund is a nonprofit group
that invests in business projects to fight poverty. It studied the effects of
treadle pumps in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. Uttar Pradesh has three
treadle pump manufacturers and more than seventy-three thousand pumps.
Acumen reported that families using them ate more
vegetables, because they were able to grow more to eat and to sell. Many of
these families also drank more milk, because they bought a cow with their added
earnings. Men with treadle pumps often no longer have to leave the farm to seek
extra work in cities.
pumps can also improve education. Farmers often use their extra earnings to buy
books for their children or to pay for schooling.
farmer in Zambia said he hoped to have enough money in three years to buy a diesel-powered
pump. Then he could grow more crops over a larger area.
But the world economic crisis has had an effect on some
farmers. IDE executive director Zenia Tata says some who were able to buy
diesel pumps now do not have enough money to buy fuel. So they are using their
treadle pumps again.
And that’s the VOA
Special English Development Report, written by Karen Leggett. Transcripts, MP3s
and archives of our reports are at voaspecialenglish.com. I’m Steve Ember.