Pump Aid x Waiākea - Celebrating 10 Years Of Partnership

Guest Feature by Duncan Marsh

Hilo company helps African communities

Pump Aid is delighted to celebrate 10 years of partnership with Waiākea Hawaiian Volcanic Water, who have helped provide more than 6 billion litres of clean water to Malawi, Africa. We are proud to align with Waiākea’s healthy, sustainable and ethical values.  

Regular and reliable support from Waiākea has allowed Pump Aid to plan our life saving water programmes efficiently and maximise our impact. Pump Aid has seen a lot of change in ten years, with the founding of Beyond Water, our social enterprise, and the establishment of our pioneering water entrepreneur programme, through which we help budding entrepreneurs become pump mechanics and business owners. Waiākea has supported 27 mechanics to run profitable businesses, repairing 2,708 pumps, and ending ten million wasted journeys for women and girls. 

Once repaired, the kuleana lies with the communities that rely on these pumps. Many will form water point committees to take responsibility for the pump. These are the people who will liaise directly with the mechanic and, in many cases, enter into a service contract with them. This means that faults can be addressed before the pump breaks. Guaranteed water for rural villages, and guaranteed income for mechanics. 

Waiākea has also supported the introduction of our pump investment scheme, where we provide Malawians with the opportunity and the choice to invest in a low-cost, low-maintenance pump for home or farm. This brings water closer to home and allows farmers to cultivate resilience and prosperity in the face of economic and climate challenges. 

Pump Aid’s work gains inspiration from Waiākea’s own three piko approach for their Kōkua Initiative, which helps local communities in Hawai'i.

Piko 'ī: Po'o – Head

We are committed to working with the community and not doing to the community.  Malawi has a rich and deep culture, expressing ways of living together and sharing vital resources for the benefit of all. We work closely with traditional village leaders to build knowledge and skills around the importance of clean water, sanitation and hygiene, and we connect communities with local mechanics, who with Waiākea’s support, have ensured more than 677,000 people can access safe water at their local water point. 

Piko 'ō: Waena - Central

Sustainability and empowerment is at the very heart of Pump Aid. Safe and sustainable access to water provided by mechanics ensures healthier communities for generations. By purchasing naturally alkaline water, Waiākea drinkers have provided more than 6 billion of clean water to rural communities in Malawi. 

Piko 'ā: Ma'i – Future

We invest in future generations by working with Malawi’s pre-schools to implement water, sanitation and nutrition programmes. The pre-schools are staffed and governed by volunteers, who we provide with management and hygiene behaviour training, as well as safe water pumps and toilets, ensuring young children have the best possible start in life. Waiākea has supported 8 pre-schools, each providing 1,150 children with a safe environment in which they can learn, grow and play. 

Pump Aid and Hawaiian company help communities in Africa

A small charity and a start-up -. In ten years, Waiakea has supported Pump Aid through monumental growth helped some of Malawi’s most isolated communities, while it rapidly became one of the fastest growing companies in America. These numbers are a true testament to ten years of partnership between Pump Aid and Waiākea, and we couldn’t be prouder to be their partner. 

Duncan Marsh, Programmes Director of the WASH NGO Pump Aid since 2014 and Founding Director of Beyond Water, a social enterprise established in Malawi in 2018, working on a professionalized repair and maintenance service for community handpumps and low cost household and irrigation pump sales. Duncan has worked in the non profit sector for over 20 years, primarily in Southern Africa.