Trading Employment for Some, against Destitution for Many Others
A recent Stanford study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, showed that it required only a very RELIABLE pump and an inexpensive drip irrigation system to transform African villages with malnourished children (six months of the year) into net exporters of food with children that were well-nourished all year around.
That means that the application of just one superior technology, and a bit of irrigation knowledge, is ALL that is required to move entire villages from destitute to more than 20% above subsistence income.
We do not think that local employment should be the central consideration, when so much is at stake.
Focus On What Matters
But even more is at stake than the reliable delivery of water. There is also cost.
When the TOTAL COST of providing well water is considered, Simple Pumps cut the total cost of delivering drinking water in half. Include all the costs, including the construction of the well (including drilling). Because a smaller casing is required, cutting the cost of drilling by up to two-thirds, the initial cost of acquisition is half that of any other hand pump.
So, even if dramatically higher reliability, lower costs to install, and lower costs to repair and maintained are put aside for the moment, just the delivery of a well equipped with a Simple Pump is dramatically cheaper.
Therefore, if local manufacture is mandated, not only is unreliable access to water a result, dramatically higher costs to deliver that water are, too!
We believe that “local employment” should NOT be the central consideration it now is.
Clean water and jobs are both desirable. But they are not equally important. And it is past time to admit that having a clean, reliable water supply comes well before and is much more important than jobs created essentially by mandate. Making “local manufacturing” a prerequisite to doing business prevents the adoption of dramatically better technology, precisely because new technologies remove manual labor, when doing so improves quality dramatically.