MSABI begins pilot scheme establishing remote Maintenance Hubs and Community Pump Insurance

In two months time we will say ‘Happy 3rd Boreday’ to the first ever borehole we drilled.  Until now it has supplied over 1.2M litres of water and the rope pump has turned more than 5 million times, in distance enough to travel from Dar Es Salaam to London!

From the start MSABI has surveyed and maintained all our water points as part of on going service to communities to ensure sustainability.  We are able to do this because of our long term in-country operations.  Communities have always paid for spare/replacement parts, to ensure on going user care for the water point.

As part of our Pump For Life approach we have recently been finalising our maintenance/insurance systems for community water points.  We have previously initiated a similar scheme with school water points, with a lot of success.

MSABI’s first borehole, 5 million turns and still going.

Our methodology is simple, communities pay a monthly premium for assured maintenance over an extended period post construction.   Provision of spare parts and costs of maintenance are based on our monitoring of pump performance over the last three years.  It is refreshing to know that MSABI’s first pump is still in working order and well maintained after almost 3 years.

Another advantage of the scheme is risk pooling, though typically the costs of rope pump repair are low relative to other pumps, collecting the monthly premiums from various water points can help to ensure quick repair of defunct boreholes.  On the ground here we have found this is key to successful on going service and customer satisfaction.  The insurance is essentially a financing mechanism to gather and save community contributions, utilising savings rather than credit.

Pipework being refitted after the guide block has been checked.

To date we have maintained pumps out of our Ifakara base, servicing all our areas of activity.  Now to reach people more quickly and cheaply we have established Maintenance Hubs in villages where we have numerous boreholes.  Rope Pump Fundis, Kiswahili for skilled workpeople, will maintain both insured pumps and non-insured pumps for set fees.  Initially under guidance and employment from MSABI but ultimately the aim is to make these viable independent businesses.

MSABI will utilise this system to monitor both the operational costs and capital maintenance costs of the rope pump, for benchmarking against other pump types.

Kiran Gowda