Fools have raised $40,151 so far to help build 100 PlayPumps in 100 days! We have till the end of TODAY, June 29, to reach the $42,000 needed to build 3 pumps. We can do it! Help us get there and beyond by donating now.

In an effort to give something back to the global community that enriches us all, the Motley Fool Global Gains team is thrilled to announce our partnership with PlayPumps International. Help us support PlayPumps in its initiative to raise funds for 100 pumps in 100 days. The cost of each pump? $14,000. The benefit? Access to lifesaving clean water for thousands of people in Africa -- from pumps powered by children's play!

Women and girls often walk five miles a day to carry home a 5-gallon, 40-pound can of water. The PlayPump water system puts clean drinking water in the heart of a community, enabling women to take on more productive work and eliminating a barrier to girls' education. Photo: Frimmel Smith.

Every 15 seconds, a child dies from diseases related to unsafe water, inadequate sanitation, and poor hygiene.

More than 1.1 billion people worldwide have no access to clean water. Without action, this number could more than double to 2.3 billion men, women, and children by 2025. And the consequences are astonishing: Diseases resulting from unsafe water and lack of sanitation are the leading causes of illness worldwide.

Lack of accessible water is especially pervasive throughout rural areas of sub-Saharan Africa, where it has a particularly devastating impact on women and children. Traditionally, the task of water collection literally falls on the shoulders of women and girls, who collect water at the nearest stream (often from a contaminated source) and carry containers filled with up to 40 pounds of water back to their homes. Average distance traveled to a water source? Five miles every day.

The situation is dire, but in an increasing number of communities throughout sub-Saharan Africa, sounds of laughter are replacing cries of despair. Children -- boys and girls alike -- play on merry-go-rounds that are part of an innovative device known as the PlayPump water system. With nearly 900 PlayPump systems already installed in rural South Africa, Mozambique, Zambia, and Swaziland, children's play currently results in clean water for more than one million people.

The benefits of clean drinking water include improved sanitation and hygiene. Here, boys in Boikarabelo, South Africa wash their hands with water they pumped by playing on a PlayPump merry-go-round water pump. Photo: Frimmel Smith.

How do the pumps work?
The PlayPump system is made up of a merry-go-round outfitted with a water pump and storage tank. When children play and spin on the merry-go-round, they're also drawing clean water from underground into a 660-gallon tank. A simple tap makes it easy to access this clean water.

The PlayPump water system can pump up to 370 gallons per hour with less effort than manually operated pumps. The pumps can reach depths of up to 330 feet and deliver drinking water to a nearby storage tank. The system is effective and efficient, with design features that recycle unused water by diverting the excess water from the storage tank back into the borehole.

Outcomes beyond water
By eliminating the need to haul water much of the day, PlayPumps help tear down barriers to education, as children are freed to attend school. Women benefit, too. With less time spent collecting water and caring for children sickened by unclean water, they can focus on nurturing healthy children and enriching the family by pursuing additional income.

In addition to providing access to clean water, the pumps also feature billboards on the storage tank that carry education, health, and consumer product messages. Two of the four billboards on each PlayPump system are reserved for social and public health messages, which provide a unique opportunity to raise awareness for health issues such as HIV/AIDS. Reaching people in these rural areas with health messages is notoriously difficult, and these billboards provide one of the few ways to communicate urgent public health messages.

As kids play on a PlayPump water system, water pumps into a 660-gallon storage tank, easily accessible by the simple turn of a tap. In addition to providing access to water and playground equipment, the storage tank carries essential social messages about issues such as this one about preventing HIV/AIDS.

The other two billboards are sold for product advertising. The ad revenue provides a sustainable source of funds that provides for the maintenance of the PlayPump water system for up to 10 years.

Taking PlayPump water systems to scale
PlayPumps International has launched an aggressive campaign to raise $60 million by 2010. These funds would underwrite the installation of 4,000 PlayPump systems, providing 10 million people in sub-Saharan Africa with access to clean drinking water. The immediate plans include expanding the installation of PlayPump systems throughout more of South Africa, as well as to Malawi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho, Tanzania, and Uganda.

100 Pumps in 100 Days
As an immediate call to action, PlayPumps International has launched a "100 Pumps in 100 Days" campaign to bring clean water to 100 schools and communities in Africa and further the organization's overall goal of installing 4,000 PlayPump systems by 2010. The campaign, which began March 22 and ends June 29, will engage students, clubs, faith-based organizations, and others in raising money and awareness. By donating to PlayPumps through this campaign, you are eligible to win a free, one-year subscription to Global Gains. The Motley Fool Global Gains team is proud to support PlayPumps in this effort.

Donate to PlayPumps

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NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. NON-PURCHASE AND PURCHASE ENTRIES HAVE AN EQUAL CHANCE OF WINNING.

1. ENTRY: This Sweepstakes will run from April 12, 2007 through June 28, 2007 (the "Sweepstakes"). Any Fool user who donates to PlayPumps International's 100 Pumps in 100 Days campaign from using the button above will automatically be entered into the Sweepstakes. Accordingly, you consent to PlayPumps International disclosing your name and/or email address to The Motley Fool so that you may be entered into the Sweepstakes. If you make multiple donations, you will be entered multiple times.

To enter without making a donation or other obligation: On a piece of paper or 3x5 card, print your name, address, city, state, zip code, email address, and the words "Global Gains PlayPumps Sweepstakes," and mail it in a stamped envelope to Global Gains PlayPumps Sweepstakes, The Motley Fool, Inc., 2000 Duke Street, Alexandria, VA 22314. Although you may enter as often as you'd like, only one entry per postmarked envelope. All entries must be postmarked no later than June 28, 2007.

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  • April 26, 2007

  • May 9, 2007

  • May 23, 2007

  • June 14, 2007

  • June 28, 2007

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