I often post examples of technology that was installed in a community but has since failed to function. Effective dissemination and continued use/maintenance is a particular interest of mine, and something that no one seems to have mastered yet. Especially not organizations that donate technologies. So just in case you still don’t believe me that the donation/aid model for appropriate technology is a failed model, I will continue to post such examples. Here’s my latest one:

This wind-powered water pump was installed 5 years ago in a health clinic about an hour outside of Samfya, in rural northern Zambia. It was paid for by a grant from the Zambia Social Investment Fund (ZAMSIF) (the clinic doesn’t actually contribute anything). The technical work came from the Chinese, who apparently did a poor quality job. The pump worked for 2 years, until a wooden shaft connected to the windmill and a rubber piece at the bottom of the pipe broke. Given the clinic’s location and the need to call in a specific technician, the pump costs around 3 million Zambian Kwacha (about US$630) to fix – significantly more than a poor rural health clinic can afford.

For the past 3 years, the clinic has reverted back to using a hand-dug well and rope/bucket system to fetch water. They built a cement covering for the well to help protect it, but still the rope and bucket which are continuously lowered into the water have touched numerous hands.

This rural health clinic, as with most clinics, spends many of its resources treating diseases that come from unprotected water sources.