The Appliance of Science...

Looks very dated; sounds very dated. Suppose it is very dated. It was the 1980s!

So let's bring this right up to date.

Last week, I was humbled to learn just what a group of our students had achieved in their 21st century appliance of science and, more precisely, the very latest technology.

It has to be one of the most remarkable things that I have experienced in my thirty years in the job. Remarkable because it combines this appliance of science and technology with an extraordinary maturity of social conscience and humanitarian awareness. And in a real time setting which is having an enormous impact on millions of daily lives...

Regular readers will recall my celebration of Year 10 students Jack, Laurence and Connor's achievement in winning the national 2015 TeenTeech Competition Award, culminating a visit to Buckingham Palace last Autumn...

TeenTech Awards
TeenTech Awards at Buckingham Palace


That journey from drawing board to Royal Palace has continued spectacularly as, this week, two of the team - Jack and Laurence - have just returned from a trip to Gambia to support as their eWATERPay hand pumps are now being installed and are already changing lives...

EwaterPay in the Gambia
EwaterPay in the Gambia
EwaterPay in the Gambia
EwaterPay in the Gambia
EwaterPay in the Gambia
EwaterPay in the Gambia

The eWATERPay system, designed and created by the students for a the competition which challenges young people to use technology to make life 'better, simpler and easier', enables water pumps installed in African villages to be effectively monitored and maintained for the first time ever.  
30,000 people die each week from drinking unsafe water despite billions of pounds having gone into installing over 800,000 hand pumps in Sub-Saharan Africa. This is largely due to lack of maintenance and ongoing funds to maintain them so, once the pumps are installed, they rapidly deteriorate. The result is that much of the initial investment on hand pumps is therefore effectively wasted.

The boys found a unique solution to this problem, identifying through the application of mobile technology, not only a way to fund repairs but also to monitor the pumps to ensure that those out of action are repaired.

Recognising that mobile phone usage in Sub-Saharan Africa is already widespread, it seemed logical and sensible to use them to control and monitor the water pumps. So team created an app that enables people to pay a small amount of money, around half a penny for a 20 litre jerry can, to draw a set measure of water from a hand pump. At the same time the app identifies which pump is being used, and with what degree of regularity. The revenue made from the sale of the water goes back into maintaining that particular hand pump through the charity Africa Water Enterprises, which is administering the programme on the ground in individual villages. They also ensure that clean water is available to the small number of villagers who don't have mobile phone access.


Simply brilliant.

The - truly amazing - application of science and technology. By some truly amazing young people.