hand pump repair Archives - WaterStep

Hand Pump Repair in Kenya



Want to learn how to repair hand pumps and provide safe water to communities that need it? Learn more about well repair training that teaches students to repair and troubleshoot the most common hand pumps in the world.


Hand pump repair is vital to the mission of WaterStep. With a functioning hand pump, a community can quickly and easily access water sources. Hand pumps are easily broken in developing countries and can be left for years without being fixed because people simply do not know how to fix them. WaterStep provides a better option. Through our hand pump repair training program, people learn to easily repair broken hand pumps and provide access to water sources that is desperately needed by many communities.


Last Friday, a team of six Louisville Metro Police officers left for Kenya to repair broken hand pumps, a mission that will provide a water source to many people who may have walked miles daily to reach safe water. The team of police officers has been preparing for months now. Their training in August prepared them for any obstacles they may encounter on their eight day trip.


Kenya parliament member Wesley Korir and WaterStep Medical Director Dr. Bill Smock are leading the trip as part of a multi-year safe water initiative in Korir’s hometown in the region north of Nairobi. “The one thing that has defeated people is water,” Korir explained. Without access to safe water, people become trapped in sickness and poverty.


The lasting effect of training will provide Kenyans a micro-business opportunity. Korir plans to empower locals to be trained as hand pump repairmen, who can earn a living while creating a sustainable supply of safe water for their communities. “A healthy nation becomes a working nation,” Korir said. We empower them with the tools to be able to do it themselves. When it breaks, you don’t just wait for another person to fix it. You fix it yourself.”


Read the article in the Louisville Courier Journal about the hand pump repair project with local police officers in Kenya.


Want to learn how to provide safe water and vital health education to people in developing countries around the world? Learn more about training classes in water treatment, health education, and well repair.

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Hand Pump Sounds, Their History and Moving Our School

Each morning in the desert bush of Burkino Faso, I lay under the fading stars of morning light awoken by the sounds of women and children pumping the only hand pump in the area, filling buckets with water and carrying them home on their heads. That was in 1983.

Yet, even today most women travel over 6 miles to gather water for their families.

WaterStep moved out of our former building on Arlington Ave. 6 months ago. But, when you teach hand pump repair on a stout platform made of steel posts, i-beams, and 12 ft lumber legs housing large hand pumps from around the world it’s no easy task to move.

The WaterStep platform in process of dis-assembly

The WaterStep platform in process of dis-assembly

Last Tuesday, thanks to Kiel Thomson Construction and his team, the platform has been torn out in order for it to be redesigned, reassembled and enhanced at 625 Myrtle. Two weeks ago we hosted our final hand pump training event at this old site. Our new space begs for exponential leaps in possibility and we are up for the challenge as we transplant the hand pump repair school.

Participants training on Hand Pump Repair at the Arlington location

Participants in hand pump repair class at the Arlington water school

Back to Burkino Faso . . . That hand pump, just a few yards from my cot, was called an India Mark II. Perhaps the most popular hand pump in the world. One day, it didn’t work and needed repair. I didn’t understand how inconvenient this was for the morning ladies because I got my water from the compound mess hall. Today, it’s all I think about.

My granddaughter just turned seven. She would have been at water hauling age a long time ago. In 1983, I knew nothing about the India Mark II pump nor the opportunity costs hauling water has on a young girls life. I do now. We teach how to repair these robust pumps, and I’ve included their history below.

Over one million hand pumps are in need of repair in Africa alone. One pump company reports that over 20,000 hand pumps on operational wells break each year and are forgotten. But, the pumps can be repaired, often times for just a few dollars. Having the tools and knowledge to repair them makes these simple hand pumps a very sustainable investment for a community.

Hand pump repair skills being shared in country

Hand pump repair taught in country

At WaterStep, we teach hand pump repair so people can take the tools and the knowledge into places like the desert bush of Burkino Faso. Today in Burkino Faso my lady friends don’t have to wait for someone to come fix their pump. Their community has the training and the equipment to do it themselves. It saves time and saves lives.

Learn a little more.
Read the brief history,How Three Handpumps Revolutionised Rural Water Supplies
Share this with a friend and find someone that wants to help make a difference.
Learn more about hand pump repair with WaterStep and sign up for training.

The stars will be fading soon.
I hear voices in the distance.
Here’s to the ladies coming for water.