Standardization (or: On Crazy Pumps)

Quite a few people seemed to have liked my post on the Playpump a while ago, so I thought I’d share something else.

I was just taking a look at a large data set from a general survey of waterpoint functionality in Malawi, covering most of the country. The survey was completed in 2005. While I was looking at the data, I decided it would be fun to analyze functionality by pump type. Here is what it showed.

Type of Pump

# of Functional

# of Not Functional

Total #

Functionality Rate

Percent Difference from Average

Afridev

17354

4441

21795

79.6%

17.7%

India mark

210

71

281

74.7%

10.5%

Malda

887

333

1220

72.7%

7.5%

Nira

115

54

169

68.0%

0.6%

Vergnet

103

50

153

67.3%

-0.5%

National Mark V

1829

989

2818

64.9%

-4.0%

Maldev

16

10

26

61.5%

-9.0%

Aquadev

53

34

87

60.9%

-9.9%

Climax

107

315

422

25.4%

-62.5%

Total or Average

28912

13840

42752

67.6%

-5.6%

 
[Disclaimer: the above information is not an official release of anything by anybody. It’s just me goofing around with pivot tables.]
 
Despite the relatively low functionality rate, the data is still actually fairly promising. Why? Because Malawi has a new handpump standardization policy, which indicates that all new pumps installed in the country must be either Afridev or Malda – at least the two that were chosen are up at the top of the list.
 
The reason for the policy is to make spare part supply chains more viable (by increasing the volume of demand), to make repairs easier (because mechanics now only have to learn to fix two kinds of pumps), and to ensure that pumps installed are affordably priced and relatively good quality (as far as I know both Afridev and Malda pumps meet these criteria).
 
So there it is. It seems like the last thing Malawi needs is a new and improved kind of pump. The challenge, in my mind at least, is to get these regulated pumps out to more communities, and to improve systems for regular maintenance. Thoughts?
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