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Water from heaven, not from hell

Harvest water from heaven, apply smart innovation to deep poverty to make it a reality that water from mud holes is no longer needed

Photo of Demotech Design
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Explain your project idea (2,000 characters)

The project: - is designed for- and based on self-reliance. Smart design uses what is locally available plus the little money the poorest people still want to invest in a basic need. The project makes use of what is found in deep poverty’s social solidarity and their vivid interest in improvements that could come into their reach. - is designed and introduced to avoid commercial exploitation. Information is freely available on internet, support can be given even on a personal base through social media, like WhatsApp. All user experience, success and failure is published and part of an online forum discussion. - is designed and managed as an event, open to a general public, like the one now planned for Berlin. The project has a festive atmosphere, is fun to look at, is fun to do. There is food to eat, music to enjoy, a final festive event is planned with the festive (research guided) destruction of the full water vessels. - The project does not beg for donations, instead makes clear that it is possible already in the coming month to build a large number of such water vessels. This thanks to travelers that visit drought-affected areas. And they will do this because they find fulfillment in doing so! - is designed to give a mind changing experience to a traveler, who is awarded for her/his teaching by a deep insight into the reality of deep poverty, which counters all bias about the inferiority of people in poverty. Thus opens up for activism to counter poverty and climate change in the future days of the traveler. The way it will work in Berlin this summer: - In parks our team invites people strolling and relaxing in parks to help to make real cement water vessels. - for fun or for real, people can learn how to do it. - Of the thousands that see and learn, many will travel later as tourists where water and money are scarce. - Some of these travelers can take the opportunity to pass on their knowledge to local people. - Follow up may become viral.

Who are the beneficiaries? (1,000 characters)

- Women and children in poor and drought-affected areas are freed from the task of fetching water from mudholes and carrying it home. - Careful use of 5 m3 water over a three month period just prevents hardship and makes life easier. - NGO's get new opportunities to help their clients. By inviting travelers to teach, NGO's learn for themselves how to do it and can continue later. - Donors get more result per spend euro, as the cost is reduced to teaching. More NGO's and projects can profit from the same amount available at the donor.

How is your idea unique? (1,000 characters)

New and innovative is the method of modular construction with thin tiles. Such tiles can be tied together in structures such as the frame of a water vessel. This structure then can be reinforced with steel wire and plastered with cement mortar. This method is easy to apply, results are durable, fast to make, low in cost, fast to learn. Innovative is the method of dissemination of this method of building water vessels. Apart from all usual methods of transmitting information about it, the use of volunteer travelers gives a new momentum. For (young) travelers there is the longing for purpose and engagement, Travelers can acquire the skills to be of great use for the people they will meet and can visit. The project starts with the technology, then turns towards people that will travel during their holidays. Teaching and learning is offered as fun. In social media all project info is available: manuals, video and supporting NGO's

Idea Proposal Stage (choose one)

  • Prototype: I have done some small tests or experiments with prospective users to continue developing the idea.
  • Pilot: I have started to implement the idea as a whole with a first set of real users.

Tell us more about your organization/company (1 sentence and website URL)

Poverty needs ongoing specialed design and innovation to get more value out the resources it still has, The design group Demotech innovates for self-reliant projects since 1976. Our best know result is the design and popularisation of what we baptized the 'Rope Pump': cheap, effective, locally made and repaired. Now known worldwide!

Expertise in sector

  • 7+ years

Organization Filing Status

  • Yes, we are a registered non-profit.

In 3-4 sentences, tell us the inspiration or story that encouraged you to start this project.

When making cement rings from tiles to make water wells safe, one of the women that worked with us suggested to use the tiles for making water vessels. Demotech took up that idea, made many prototypes and now is able to present a method to a wide public that has all it takes for a rapid spread of its use.

Please explain how your selected topic areas are influenced, in the local context of your project (1,000 characters).

To safeguard the availability of water will result in: - better living - less migration - more time to adjust to climate change

Who will work alongside your organization in the project idea? (1,000 characters)

The people we meet in the street. The traveling volunteers that sign up for working with us The people in the projects in Afrika that we will meet later on

Please share some of the top strengths identified in the community which your project will serve (500 characters)

Strength is the abundance of young people that want to travel. Strenght is the niceness of the invitation to help out in poverty. Strenght is the extremely effective design the project makes use of.

Geographic Focus

All richer areas to inspire travelers All poor areas to inspire and help out the local people

How many months are required for the project idea? (500 characters)

June and July for preparation, August for execution. From September on implementation in Afrika and other drought-affected areas

Did you submit this idea to our 2017 BridgeBuilder Challenge? (Y/N)

  • No

If Yes, how has project idea changed, grown, or evolved since last year? (2,000 characters)

Yes, all development works like that, nothing is static.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Barrie Hebb

This is a very interesting and innovative concept from the actual tool used to improve access to safe clean drinking water, especially in rural poor drought risk areas, along with the approach taken to disseminating the tool. Here in Tajikistan, the rural poor lack access to safe clean drinking water and our research is consistent with what is found elsewhere; primarily women and girls are devoting far too much time to fetching water, and it is often not of high quality resulting in health issues in addition to the burden. The cost of constructing and maintaining more conventional water services is also extremely high to reach the people most in need, let alone on this scale. This approach sounds like it may be able to be rapidly deployed, at low cost, in precisely these areas that are especially at risk. I look forward to finding out more!

Photo of Demotech Design

Dear Barry Hebb, thanks for encouragements!
And you are so right! This approach to making large 5 cube meters WaterVessels is all that you state. Affordable for the ultra poor, as cheaper then the water that they otherwise have to buy. Also fun to do for locals! Fast results can be had.
I am looking for a partner for a pilot project. Could be in your country if you invite us. No fees from my side, support and guidance we need from your side.
I want to show you a lot more info and pictures about the WaterVessel. How can we communicate best? My mail is More info on the WaterVessels also at our website (under construction!) is
I look forward to your quick response,
Reinder van Tijen/Demotech/the Netherlands

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