Free energy from the sun brings relief in Togo

In the Central Region of Togo, Grundfos SafeWater and the Lomé-based Entreprise Moderne de Technologie (EMT), led by CEO Alfred Aguim, have collaborated on a project that supplies nearly 50,000 people with easily accessible water from solar-powered submersible pumps.

Alfred Aguim, CEO of Entreprise Moderne de Technologie, Lomé

The pumps offer a convenient alternative to the hand pumps that the communities had to rely on before. EMT, a Grundfos distributor in Togo, has expertise in drilling boreholes and offers a range of integrated services in civil engineering, water and sanitation.

The Situation – An unhappy dependence on hand pumps

Manually operated hand pumps — with all their drawbacks — are still widespread in many rural regions of Togo. The pumps can be unreliable, they deliver water very slowly, and they require physical exertion to operate. The government is addressing the problem by contracting with companies such as the Lomé-based Entreprise Moderne de Technologie (EMT) to replace hand pumps with highly reliable solar-powered technology that supplies a strong, constant flow of water at the turn of a tap.

EMT and Grundfos SafeWater collaborated on a project covering nine villages of the Sokodé district in central Togo in West Africa, where residents had to rely on hand pumps for their water. The time-consuming, laborious chore is invariably performed by women and children. The pump handle requires considerable physical effort to push up and down, and the water flows from a single water point at low volumes, and there is often a long wait for your turn at the pump. An added problem is that the water flows out at knee-height, which adds to the physical exertion when the basin is hoisted onto the head of the woman or child who will carry it.

Amadou Assoumanou, government official

“Previously, the situation was very unsatisfactory because the population was growing, and people were struggling to pump water with only their own muscle power to rely on,” says Amadou Assoumanou, the government official who oversaw the project.

Both the Togolese Republic and Grundfos have ambitious goals for 2030 – the government of the West African country wants to provide all its estimated nine-million people1 with safe water and sanitation by then, and it’s the deadline Grundfos has set itself to reach 300-million people worldwide with drinking water.

The Solution – No more heavy lifting required

Leon Roland Elongue Akame, the Senior Sales Manager for Grundfos SafeWater in West Africa, says the solution for Sokodé was to install a Grundfos SP submersible pump in the district’s borehole. The pump is paired with renewable solar inverters and solar panels.

“But what’s really special here is that there is a Power Adaptor that allows two different energy sources to be used: alternating current and direct current. And this means people have access to water 24 hours a day, seven days a week, non-stop,” he says.

“This is an important project for us because it is a very good example of how we can reach people with drinking water in a rural area, and it is a project we can scale on our quest to reach these 300-million people in 2030.”

Leon Roland Elongue Akame, Senior Sales Manager for Grundfos SafeWater in West Africa

And for the government of Togo, the Sokodé initiative also feeds into its 2030 target. Amadou Assoumanou, who is Head of Planning, Monitoring & Evaluation at the Sokodé regional office of the Ministry of Water and Village Water Supply, says: “The project aims to help the government to achieve its goal of ensuring safe drinking water for all its citizens.”

One of the nine villages to benefit from this project is the farming community of Kassena. Here, the outlet for at least one of the new pipes providing water from a Grundfos- equipped borehole is about 2m above ground level, so people can stand underneath it and fill their basins while the containers are balanced on their heads. No extra lifting required, another problem solved.

The Outcome – Praise for the role played by Grundfos

Alfred Aguim, CEO of Entreprise Moderne de Technologie, a Grundfos distributor, is pleased that the goal of reaching nearly 50,000 people with water from submersible pumps has been achieved.

“Before this project was carried out, everyone living in these areas had to use hand pumps – which had to be operated manually, with physical effort – to obtain their drinking water. Basically, the entire population benefits from this: the residents, the clinics, the schools, and the local market where people come to sell their produce. All of these now have access to water,” Alfred Aguim says.

“We collaborated with Grundfos from start to finish. Grundfos has provided support not only as a pump distributor, but throughout the entire process: it helped with everything from system sizing to installation. Grundfos provided technical guidance for installation and then for actually using the system, based on the correct standards.”

Amadou Assoumanou also expresses his appreciation. “Grundfos is a very good partner because we have evidence of the quality and durability of the company’s equipment from previous projects. That’s why we chose Grundfos for this project.”

But perhaps most importantly, the people of Sokodé themselves are thrilled at the change in their lives brought about by the introduction of automatic pumps. Isabel Kinto, a resident of Kassena who is a volunteer teacher at the local school, says: “Now, even if you are sick, you can still take your container to fetch water because it’s nearby. You just go there, the water runs, and you go home. There is no problem, and hardly any effort is required.”

We support Grundfos ambition to reach 300 million people with drinking water by 2030 with an emphasis on underserved communities. We work in collaboration with leading humanitarian and development aid organisations, private institutions, and governments.

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