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Treadle pumps in Malawi?

Neil Noble
related country: Malawi
related country: Malawi

How can Malawi Orphanage Fund best provide two treadle pumps to Home of Hope in Malawi?

Home of Hope is an orphanage catering for 650 residential children and 100 additional day visitors as well as 160 people who come to the farm as they have nowhere else to go. They have won an award from World Vision

Malawi Orphanage Fund want to supply a couple of treadle pumps and pipes pumping from a well, maybe 20 ft deep

They have a diesel pump on one part of the farm but no pumping on the second farm area.

4 Answers


Could you confirm details of the pumps requirement and distance/terrain that the pipes will be going through please.


Malawi is a country that is absolutely awash with treadle pumps, many distrubuted as an emergency response to drought.

One of the best models is called thge Money Maker produced by a company (with social responsibility) called Kick Start I don't know if they have any agent operating in Malawi or if the pumps would have to be imported.

An NGO called Total Land Care has also been deeply involved in the distribution of treadly pumps.

Ideally pumps should be procured locally from an agent who will be able to provide parts and after sales service. They may have a life-span of around 5 years and the country is littred with broken down pumps.

The pumps have a suction head of around 9m (21 ft) so you will have to be sure that they will draw water from the well. After the pump they can lift water another 10m or more. The greater the total vertical lift, the more effort is required for pumping. Treadle pumps are more commonly used from very shallow wells or open water.


You might want to look at the rope-washer pump: Pump Aid is in Malawi, this is an example of a pump at an Orphanage. As it is a lift pump (not suction) it can cope with lifts of up to 30 metres. For most suction pumps, especially at the altitudes in Malawi, your practical limit is probably about 5 metres for a pump in good condition (see for a useful discussion , section 2.1.5). The rope-pump can be adapted to pedal power (if it is to be used for irrigation).



Mzuzu University, located in northern Malawi, was established by an Act of Parliament in May 1997 and admitted its first students in January 1999. In 2009, the Mzuzu University Centre of Excellence in Water and Sanitation was established within the Faculty of Environmental Sciences. The primary objective of the Centre is to improve the effectiveness of sanitation, hygiene practices, and water supply interventions serving Malawi and the surrounding countries.

The Centre participates in research, water quality (and coming in mid-2016 fecal sludge) analysis, training, consultancies, outreach programs, and the practical application of research findings. We excel at practical research, both bringing the results and solutions back to our areas of research and publishing for global lesson sharing. In 2013, Mzuzu University added programs for PhD and Master’s in Sanitation, and we aim to include students for practical experience in our Centre projects. To learn more about our awesome team and innovative current work please visit .

One of our projects you may be interested in which is an extension of the Centre of Excellence in Water and Sanitation, there now is a so called SMART Centre with demonstration of a range of low cost technologies and capacity to train local entrepreneurs in water and sanitation technologies. To learn more about the SMART Centre visit .

We have several publications on Malawi groundwater quality and pump types, please visit our website for more details. Good luck!