Monday, September 25, 2006

Children-Powered Water Pumping Project

I found this today on Reuters:

The first lady announced the first commitment - US$10 million from the US government to kick-start a US$60 million public/private project to build children's merry-go-rounds in Africa, which pump clean drinking water into a storage tank.

Is it just me, or doesn't it seem wrong to support a program that uses children to pump drinking water?

I remember how much fun I had on merry-go-rounds as a kid. Because there was little friction, we really got them spinning. But attaching a pump will add friction and the effort required to get the device spinning will make it a chore rather than a fun activity. If it becomes a chore, rather than a choice, then it's definately wrong.

It would be much wiser to use the available funds for solar photovoltaic systems. Such dedicated water-pumping systems are already in use in many parts of the world. Why anyone would want to use kids instead is beyond me.

Solar John


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minotte's notes said...

I agree that PV systems are way better but more expensive.

In third world countries, children really do chores, specially fetching water from far rivers. They walk many miles, carrying pails connected by wood planks on their shoulders.

Given that this is among their daily chores, pushing a merry-go-round pum is way more fun.