Smart handpump impacts recognised by UK research council

The UK’s Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) recent Impact Report highlights the role of Oxford’s innovative smart water pump research in helping secure rural water supply in Kenya.

The UK’s Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) recently highlighted the significant contribution of Oxford University’s research to securing African rural water supply in their annual Impact Report. Oxford’s innovative smart water pump research is included among a selection of case studies demonstrating the societal and economic impact of the ESRC’s research funding. This not the first time Oxford’s smart handpump research has received recognition: last year Patrick Thomson’s poster, documenting the work, received the award for “Best Poster Presentation” at World Water Week.

The development of smart handpumps has dramatically reduced response times for those tasked with locating and repairing broken pumps in rural Kenya. It is estimated that as many as one in three pumps are out of service at any given time, with it often taking more a month or more to repair faults. The research uses mobile-enabled transmitters which automatically send SMS text messages to monitor pump performance. This enables a local maintenance company, FundiFix Ltd., to repair pumps within a couple of days. Information flows are informing institutional change in terms of sector coordination and sustainable finance with partners including local government, UNICEF and the private sector. Kenya’s Water Services Regulatory Board has also acknowledged the innovative nature of the approach in its national reporting.

The smart handpump research, is among a number of examples of Oxford’s groundbreaking work on rural water security being showcased by researchers his month at the ESRC-DFID’s Impact Initiative’s Pretoria conference, Lessons from a Decade’s Research on Poverty: Innovation, Engagement and Impact. Further information on the Impact Case Study and the Impact Initiative can be found below:

Updates of our researchers work in Africa can be found on their respective project websites. Below is a selection of recent posts outlining some of the many ways Oxford University’s water research is making an impact:

Gro for GooD

Dr Rob Hope outlines the importance of groundwater for the development of Kenya’s Kwale County as part of the Gro for GooD project (Groundwater Risk Management for Growth and Development).

REACH

Following the successful Water Security 2015 conference in December, REACH researchers have had a busy start to the year travelling to Kenya, Ethiopia and Bangladesh to develop research workplans with country partners. Here is a selection of recent items from the REACH website:

         In an article for Kenya’s Daily Nation, Dr Nic Cheeseman and Johanna Koehler draw from REACH’s recent Kenyan Country Diagnostic Report, identifying the drivers of water insecurity. Read more…

         Johanna Koehler and Susie Goodall, report on a recent workshop, run by Kitui County Government and UNICEF Kenya, for the County’s water staff to help develop sustainable water services. Read more…

Materials relating to the Water Security 2015 conference “Improving water security for the poor” are now available online:

       •       News article on the conference ‘Water Security: less talk, more action’

       •       Video and audio of the conference sessions

       •       REACH Country Diagnostic Reports – Kenya, Ethiopia, Bangladesh

       •       Social media summary of the conference on Storify

       •       Conference photos on Flickr

       •       “Securing Water, Sustaining Growth”  GWP/OECD Task Force report