By Amber Payne, NBC Nightly News associate producer
Kids Play. Water Pumps.
2500 people in an under-served African community are provided with safe, clean drinking water. All at no cost to the community.
In this edition of "Making a Difference," the good deeds are taking place on many levels.
It starts with South African entrepreneur Trevor Field. He knew the African water crisis was serious--- 40% of Sub-Saharan Africans lack access to water and 60% lack access to proper sanitation. Field took it upon himself to find a creative way to solve the country's water problem. He devised the PlayPump® water system--- a merry-go-round attached to a water pump, a storage tank and a tap. When kids play and spin, they pump up to 370 gallons an hour.
All four sides of the storage tank are leased as billboards, with two sides for consumer advertising and the other two for health and educational messages. The revenue generated pays for pump maintenance so that the community doesn't incur any cost. Each system has a maintenance guarantee of at least 10 years.
Kate Grabowski's 4th grade class in Glastonbury, Connecticut learned about the kid-powered PlayPumps and made it their mission to sponsor a pump for South African school children in November 2006.
They hooked up with RandomKid,an organization that helps kids help others. All of their philanthropic ideas are initiated by kids for kids. 13-year-old Talia Leman is the CEO and she launched the organization 3 years ago in response to Hurricane Katrina when she mobilized children nationwide, raising $10 million dollars for relief. They have since helped children around the country launch projects ranging from building schools in Cambodia to funding cancer research.
The excitement spread and schools from California and Iowa got on board to contribute money toward a PlayPump. Each school came up with their own marketing scheme, selling bottled water in front of yoga studios and grocery stores. They designed unique brands--- Glastonbury called theirs "Water 4 Water," Portola Elementary in California dubbed theirs "Water For Life," and The Academy in Des Moines sold "AquaShare." Teachers subscribed to daily water delivery service, local businesses bought it in bulk. Students passionately sold on weekends, holidays, and over summer break.
In addition to improving sanitation and hygiene, the close proximity of the pumps allows women and girls, who bear most of the gathering burden, to focus on child care and education.
PlayPumps International is the nonprofit organization that enables individuals, governments, foundations, and companies to donate PlayPump water systems to rural African communities and schools. Just $24 will give live-saving clean water to four children for up to ten years.