Harnessing the Power of Play (Updated March 2009)

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Harnessing the Power of Play

Harnessing the Power of Play

In a groundbreaking $60 million dollar Public-Private Partnership with PlayPumps International Water for All (Water for All), the Case Foundation, USAID, the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and private sector partners, the PlayPump Alliance will work with 10 sub-Saharan African countries to bring the benefits of clean drinking water to up to 10 million people by 2010.

The innovative PlayPump water system is powered by children's play. It consists of a merry-go-round attached to a water pump and provides a sustainable and child-friendly water delivery system.

The United States Government, through USAID and PEPFAR, will provide a combined $10 million to this alliance over three years. This will directly support the provision and installation of PlayPumps in approximately 650 schools, health centers and HIV-affected communities.

Limited access to clean drinking water and basic sanitation facilities has a profound impact on the quality of life of children and families in sub-Saharan Africa. In order for HIV-infected people to remain healthy as long as possible, and for people with AIDS to avoid opportunistic infections, access to clean drinking water and improved hygiene and sanitation practices are of the utmost importance.

The Benefits of Installing PlayPumps:

  • Public health messages on PlayPump billboards provide a unique opportunity to promote healthy behaviors that limit the spread of HIV/AIDS.
  • Long walks to collect water keep girls out of school and keep women from other income-generating activities. By relieving this burden, PlayPump systems enable girls to attend school and allow women to do other productive activities.

  • PlayPump water systems promote children's play, and strengthen children's bodies and minds while instilling the values of teamwork and fair play in the next generation.
  • By hiring and training local workers to install and maintain PlayPump water systems, this partnership will spur economic development by creating a skilled workforce and long-term jobs - enabling communities to thrive.

The PlayPump system won the World Bank's Development Marketplace Award in 2000 for its effectiveness at both pumping water and communicating HIV/AIDS messages.


U.S. President?s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief

Harnessing the Power of Play




How Will PlayPump Water Systems Enable PEPFAR to Support Those Infected and Affected by HIV/AIDS?

  • Clean water is essential for quality health care. Easy access to clean water will enhance PEPFAR's ability to support quality care in rural and peri-urban areas where PEPFAR supports hospitals, health facilities and clinics. In addition, HIV/AIDS messages on PlayPump billboards spread the word about healthy behaviors.

About PlayPump Water Systems:

  • PlayPump systems are powered by play. Often undervalued because it appears so simple, play is a powerful tool through which young people learn about themselves, gain respect for each other, learn about HIV/AIDS through positive social messaging, break down gender stereotypes, and stimulate their bodies and minds.
  • Unlike most water delivery methods in developing countries, PlayPump water systems are sustainable. The PlayPump system was invented in Africa, is manufactured in Africa, and benefits Africans.

Millions of people in Africa lack sufficient access to clean drinking water, which is critical for survival. Clean drinking water is an essential ingredient for improving health, education, gender equality and economic development throughout Africa.

Importance of Public-Private Partnerships:

  • Public-Private Partnerships are an important part of the strategy to fight HIV/AIDS under PEPFAR.
  • Public-Private Partnerships enable the U.S. Government and the private sector to maximize their efforts through jointly defined programmatic objectives, design and implementation. The mutually beneficial arrangements enhance local and international capacity to deliver quality health services and leverage the core competencies of each sector to multiply their impact.
  • This alliance between public and private partners will promote better care for people living with and affected by HIV/AIDS, and hope for stronger families and healthier communities.


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