Afrigadget is a website run by a few guys from Kenya. They showcase African ingenuity and problem solving. There is a lot of content, but I'll highlight a few things: The garbage spike, the buoy, mukombe and PlayPump.

Under a post entitled MFA: Water Bag Challenge! The first entry describes what I have sketched out above. The idea was to install a spike in the ground and impale the garbage onto it. This is a very simple and cheap way to make an effort at cleaning up the garbage.

Water Buoy Faucet

Above is a photo of a re-purposed buoy serving as a suspended water container.

How the Mukombe works (drawings by Jim Watt)

This is called the Mukombe. It makes use of a natural gourd as a water saving hand washing device.


This is an idea called the PlayPump. The basic premise is that children don't have time to play because they need to do more important activities. The idea is children play on a merry-go-round and the action of that pumps water out of the ground. The project is also paid for by advertisers on the side of the merry go round.

One commentor points out many reasons why this isn't a great idea in the long run:

"We appreciate the attention for the school water problem, but this “Playpump” is really not the way to go.
It has been tried out many years ago in South Africa and it didnt work for many reasons.
– after a while, kids dont see the fun anymore
– tanks always empty, so you have to play before
you can drink
– if other people want water, they have to look
for some kids to play first.
– the tanks are leaking, also through the taps
and water is lost
– advertisement only available in populated
areas, but there is often piped water, so
no need for this expensive system
– it is extremly expensive
– you have to buy 10 at the time at 8.000 to
10.000 US$ each, so it makes no sense for
one school
– maintenance is very complicated and expensive
after some years nobodfy will take care of
it, but “who realy cares anyway…?” "

 Why This is Important

Afrigadget is an aggregator of ideas and products that are occurring in Africa. It's really important to know why the PlayPump seems like a good idea on the surface but is not sustainable or viable. It's important to know what has been tried before to know how to succeed. The mukombe is a very smart use of available materials into something that works.


AfriGadget. (n.d.). AfriGadget. Retrieved October 5, 2014, from


You may also like

No comments:

Powered by Blogger.