AMREF

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Lasting health change in Africa
Kenya
Photo by Amref

One of the leading voices in the ‘appropriate technology’ movement, psychiatrist turned social entrepreneur Paul Polak founded iDE in 1982 as an organization devoted to the manufacture, marketing and distribution of affordable, scalable micro-irrigation and other low-cost water recovery systems throughout the developing world. Envisioning the rural poor as potential entrepreneurs and customers rather than charity recipients, iDE relies on local manufacturing, retailing, and maintenance resources to make affordable technologies available to farmers. The organization’s emblematic success has been the ‘treadle pump’ – a more efficient and user-friendly technology than traditional manual pumps. More than 1.5 million have been sold in Bangladesh alone, creating $1.4 billion in net additional income per year.

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