High-Tech App for Low-Tech Ram Pump

Alternative Indigenous Development Foundation, Inc

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AIDFI is a Philippine NGO engaged in the manufacturing and installation of SMART technologies for basic needs.  Its flagship technology is the AIDFI model Hydraulic Ram Pump. AIDFI already installed systems in 520 upland villages benefitting some 260.000 people. One of the biggest challenges remains monitoring and early detection of problems because of the remoteness of the areas. AIDFI developed an App which is provided on a mobile phone to the water associations which monthly transfer vital data of the operation to AIDFI. The App also contains instructional manuals and options for chat messages.

Monitoring App, a High-Tech solution supporting the Low-Tech Hydraulic Ram Pump systems which supply water to upland communities with no easy access without the use of electricity or fuel.

Project description

What problem are you trying to solve?
The bigger problem is easy access to water for upland villages.  There are hundreds of thousands of free-flowing sources all over the world which are lower situated than the villages, creating huge challenges. People must fetch water and bring it manually uphill, limiting the consumption to around 40 liters/day. The ram pump of AIDFI has solved this problem in already some 520 villages. The villages where the pumps are installed are often isolated and remote and are hard to reach.  Even though local technicians have been trained in the operation, repair and maintenance and the spare parts are locally made or available, we discovered through visits that there were systems which faced technical issues. Most technical issues could then be traced back to organizational management of the water project. It is too costly and time consuming to visit the projects regularly. Doing monitoring by calls or SMS also proved to be very difficult because of signal issues and change of mobile numbers.

What is your solution to this problem?
AIDFI developed an App provided on a mobile phone issued to water associations.  This App transfers important data like water volume delivered (through meter reading), repair and maintenance carried out and monthly fees collected to a web-based platform used by different teams, people or even funders. Issues in the operation of the water projects can then be detected through parameters set.  The purpose is to have the right AIDFI staff pro-actively engage the community and try to help them solve the issues detected.  This can be in the form of advice or helping them to find or supply the right spare parts or even organizational intervention (training or special assembly). The App also does have instructional manuals for the local technicians which include operation, repair and maintenance and the tuning of the ram pumps.  The mobile phones are organizationally issued to the water associations during an all-member meeting and come with a contract, practice on how to use and a manual.

What is your latest update on your innovation?
The final version is already operational in eight sites in different places (islands) in the Philippines and is being monitored on a 54” tv screen at the office of AIDFI, which gives real-time information of all sites. So far, the coverage will be on Coca-Cola sponsored projects but will be expanded to other sponsored ram pump projects like the Department of Agriculture. As of this moment, there are another fifteen mobile phones to be deployed.  By the end of the year, AIDFI targets all 154 Coca-Cola sponsored sites which were installed for the last 8 years.  AIDFI, after being one of the winners in both the Globe and Singtel Future Makers competition, hopes to integrate Globe Telecom into the App monitoring to further innovate the system.


Auke Idzenga

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