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In rural Cambodia, water pumps help farmers help themselves

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Why did that resonate so much? I’m from a farm and my heritage is Mennonite, which focuses on self-sufficiency.

How is the pump an innovative solution to farmers’ water needs?
The pumps can irrigate an acre and a half. Before, the farmers could only raise the crops once a season, during the rainy season. Now they can raise two sets of crops. Vegetables are so scarce in Cambodia and they have to import them.

What was the process like of deciding on the price point and figuring out distribution?
We sell the pumps at because we don’t want to create dependency. And if you give them away, how do you decide who to give them to?

A lot of the process is common sense. We buy the pumps from Kickstart International, who sells these pumps in Africa. We’re the first people to take these pumps out of Africa, and I don’t get why because it’s such a simple solution.

We matched Kickstart's price, even though we have greater overhead. But we can’t sell them for more than $95. So we run on a shoestring budget and we rely on donations to cover our overhead costs.

In terms of distribution, we went into a Muslim area for two reasons. One is that they had the soil and the water table that the pumps require. But also, no one else was going to help them. [Former Cambodian dictator] Pol Pot tried to wipe them out, and I think it’s still the policy of the government to do this.

We just got the shipment in, in March. We’ve sold about 20 and we’ve ordered another shipment.

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