|The Social Entreprise concept of the FairWater BluePump|
The FairWater BluePump Project is set-up with a "Social Entreprise" concept (SE). The basic idea of a SE is that the main goal of the organzation is not to make a profit, but to develop and distribute products that are specifically solving a social problem. Profits from SE sales are used to pay for basic needs and invested again into improving the product and the service.
The SE concept is rather new in the sector of development aid. NGOs are more used to deal with traditional companies that have a product such as a new 4x4 car, a water testing kit, a drilling machine or a handpump. However, when NGOs deal with such traditional companies, there is always an element of mistrust, because "they" want to make money and "we" want to do good.
Because of this, many NGOs have the tendency to spend as little as possible on hardware, because they don't like the idea that the "commercial" company makes a profit with the social work that the NGO is doing. Often NGOs ask a "special price" because the goods are used for social activities and tenders are mainly judged on price alone and not so much on quality aspects.
On the other hand, NGOs also do understand that companies have to make a profit in order to be able to continue their services and to give for instance a solid garantee on their products. The concept of a "Social Entreprise" is therefore to make both worlds meet somewhere in the middle of this business process, because after all, they have both the same final objective, which is making the world a bit better, and not alone just doing a job.
Given the fact that I have been many times on both sides of the table, I do understand the arguments from both sides. So I concluded that the SE concept is probaby best suited to scale-up the distribution of the BluePump.
To develop a reliable handpump is one thing, but to make it a success and widely available is not just "another thing", but a crucial factor to make the product a success. So I needed in the first place a very reliable parter with a good service structure that can secure the quality and delivery with a proper after sale service at all time.
Because I have been working with the company BOODE BV in The Netherlands since my work in Africa as a hydrogeologist since 1985, I have appreciated their quality products and service over the years. So already in the early stage of the development of the BluePump I approached BOODE BV to be the worldwide distributor of the BluePump and to do the distribution and all associated logistics.
With the feedback that we have received over the years, we are convinced that the BluePump is the best option for a community. The BluePump is not the cheapest handpump to buy, but it is certainly the most reliable handpump on the market. Therefore it is widely appreciated by the communities because with a BluePump they have more days with water and spend less money on repairs. That is the main selling point for the BluePump.
If the recurrent cost of a BluePump are compared with any other similar handpump that is cheaper to buy, it becomes clear that withing 3 to 5 years the lower maintenance cost of the BluePump outweights the higher initial purchase cost. This means each year more money on the bank for the community.
The people behind the FairWater BluePump
I worked for Universities, Consultancies, World Bank, Governments and international NGOs in Rural & Peri-Urban Water Supply and lived for many years in Burkina Faso, Mauritania, Mozambique, Kenya and Angola. I did many studies to rural water supply in Benin, Brazil, Cameroon, Chad, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Malawi, Mali, Senegal, South Africa, South Sudan, Sierra Leone, Swaziland, Tanzania and in Zambia.
With my wife Sureyya Gök, we took up the challenge to introduce this new approach in rural water projects and started the FairWater Foundation in 2009 (NL-34316771) based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
Apart from her professional career as Director of Finance of the European Branch of an international company in Amsterdam, she has also a passion for social work. From 2006 to 2013 she was also a municipal councilor in The Netherlands, with a special focus on how to contribute to better conditions for children and elderly people and active in the Multi Ethnical Network for Women (MEV) to empower women with ethnical background.
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We hope the that the rational of the BluePump and FairWater is more clear to you. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions, or if you would like to sponsor a BluePump in Africa, or would like to become a FairWater partner and order BluePumps for your projects and start with your own BlueZone in Africa.
John Ruskin (1819 - 1900)
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