In March this year I travelled to Cambodia with Engineers Without Borders Australia to check out their work in the field and to get an understanding of that country and how it is developing. I had met EWBA founder Danny Almagor just weeks ago on the set of New Inventors when he was guest-judging Episode 5 and over beers at a stand where fish nibble your feet I asked him to show me some of EWB Australia's most successful innovations. Wasn't sure how many viewers would want to see a floating composting toilet in action - and frankly there were not many volunteers to be filmed on it even though that is another effective and highly necessary innovation - but this bike-powered pump is more viewer- friendly - and its impact is immense. There are only around 3,000 doctors for the 9 million people of Cambodia and almost all of the rural population is serviced at clinics with no power and no running water. Think about it - that makes hand washing really hard, autoclaving impossible and basically limits service to daylight hours. Worse - many of the wells from which the clinics draw water are contaminated with arsenic.
At the clinic we visited EWBA, working with local non profit Rainwater Cambodia, have installed a rainwater tank and hand-washing station with a little added something: the bike pump lets a father-to-be pedal water from the main tank up to a gravity tank and into the delivery room where the mother-to-be gets to use clean, flowing water through the birth. Simple and impactful. Soon to be repeated at similar clinics across the country as funding permits. Check it out.