The post below is from Wadami of FashionAfrica.com. Thanks Dammie! It's definitely an interesting take on what seems a well-meaning concept/idea, and we would love to hear your thoughts...
The PlayPump system is a new movement to bring cleaner water to sub-saharan Africa. PlayPumps International’s mission is to help improve the lives of children and their families by providing easy access to clean drinking water, enhancing public health, and offering play equipment to millions across Africa.
PlayPumps International is an NGO registered in South Africa as well as a sister 501(c) 3 organization in the U.S. and by 2010 they will have carried out their mission by installing 4,000 PlayPump® water systems in 10 countries across sub-Saharan Africa
How do they intend to achieve this? By building "Merry - go - rounds" that children will play on whilst simultaneously pumping water from the ground.
The project has begun in a few parts of sub-saharan Africa, where girls are responsible for fulfilling the jobs of water carriers. The girls are usually late for school, often having to join the boys later on in the day because they are expected to carry water back from springs and lakes. The PlayPump system aims to involve all kids in the process, and hopefully improve education opportunities for the young female population.
Watch the National Geographic feature on Play Pumps:
This will definitely be beneficial to developing countries in Africa and worldwide, but it has been brought to my attention that there are possibilities of child labour/abuse because of what has been called "the movement's deceptive nature".
So now we ask, is there really potential for this project to open the door to child labour issues, where children are made to "work" to provide their villages with water? Are they not just being saved the time it would take for them to trek the distance to fetch water, and at the same time, being given the opportunity to play? Could a follow-up headline sometime in 2009 read: "Children forced into manual labour to pump water in rural Africa"?