Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Social Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame: Bringing Water To The Masses

What are the best recent inventions that started a business AND made a huge impact on a social problem? Four products/companies immediately came to mind, and they were each about getting drinkable water to people who have none. As we all know in our bottled-water toting U.S. society, much of the world- especially burgeoning third world nations- has a severe drinking water crisis. These solutions, to me, are unbelievable in their simplicity and sustainability.

An example of a product that singularly changes an economy. KickStart's irrigation technology empowers farmers of Kenya and similar nations to not only farm for themselves and their family, but for others, as a business. Simply awesome. What other basic inventions are we missing in this world?

PlayPumps: The idea is simple; kids play on a Merry-Go-Round, which pumps drinking water for villages that need it. I'll even through the exercise the kids are getting in as a tertiary benefit, although one maybe not as unnecessary outside the US (where the children aren't, presumably, as lazy.) Here's an old BoingBoing post on PlayPumps.

Lifestraw. It literally filters the water as its drinked. Wow.

WaterHealth International, whose UV Waterworks technology cleans drinking water in what Inc. describes as suburban-garage sized stations that are franchisable at the community level.

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