Piloting the BluePump in Turkana, Kenya

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A Solution to Addressing Issues of Handpump Breakdown and Mitigating the Impact of Drought


This paper documents the process of piloting a new handpump in Turkana, Kenya. Known as the BluePump, it was introduced to Kenya by Oxfam in early 2008 in an effort to address the problem of frequent handpump failures in a district where communities lack access to skilled technicians, spare parts and financial restraints to repair broken pumps. The pump developer’s initial claims of producing a “maintenance free” pump have clearly been exposed as incorrect, however field trials suggest that the BluePump requires less maintenance than comparable commercially available pumps. It is therefore suitable for more widespread adoption and scale up across Turkana and more widely in Kenya. By the beginning of 2011, 40 BluePumps had been installed in Turkana. This paper documents some of the challenges and lessons that have been encountered in field trials of this new pump. During this time Oxfam’s field programme working collaboratively with the pump designer in Netherlands, directly resulting in improvements and evolution of a more robust pump.