In a unique collaboration, Bison Pumps and Konbit Sante have worked together to design a pump specifically for high use and extra durability in one of the world’s poorest areas. Konbit Sante, a non-profit organization whose name in Creole means working together for health, has spent the past decade to improve the delivery and quality of healthcare at the Justinian Hospital. The hospital is located in Cap Haitien, a northern town in Haiti.
“We’ve really enjoyed being a part of Konbit Sante’s work in Cap Haitien,” said David Harbison, president of Bison Pumps. “The new design is a more rugged look and has the same type of heft that old-fashioned pumps did, but with the easy action and high-quality stainless steel that Bison Pumps is known for.”
As an engineering volunteer for Konbit Sante, Robert MacKinnon, discovered that the lack of basic infrastructure was affecting the group’s ability to improve public health. One of the most challenging obstacles to health in Cap Haitien, Haiti, is not only the lack of doctors or medicine, but the absence of even the most rudimentary plumbing for water, MacKinnon explained. Without an abundant and accessible supply of water, improvements to medical facilities and the surrounding communities in Cap Haitien are limited. “One of the important aspects of Konbit Sante’s work in Haiti, is that we work with Haitians, but the Haitians decide which solution works best for them,” he said.
MacKinnon, who is superintendant of the Yarmouth, Maine, Water District, needed to provide increased access to the well water in the neighborhoods of Cap Haitien. “The challenge in Haiti is the complete lack of access to any type of spare parts,” MacKinnon said. When we started researching hand pumps for installation, he explained, the UN-endorsed pump that is used by many NGOs was made in India, with parts not readily available should something fail.
“We found Bison Pumps online, and the pumps seemed to be well-thought-out in design and built to last,” MacKinnon explained. Konbit Sante followed his recommendation, ordered the first Bison Deep Well Pump and installed it last fall. “Our local people were nervous about the installation,” MacKinnon said, because no one had ever done it before. “It was so easy to install, we all came away with big smiles,” MacKinnon said. Additionally the pump assembly was shipped with all the parts necessary for installation and operation of the Bison Pump.
When it came time to order a second pump for their Haitian partners, MacKinnon said his Haitian partners wanted to make some changes in the pump design to make it even more rugged. “Bison really was easy to work with and implemented the tweaks we suggested,” he said.
The result is a new pump in Bison’s product line-up: The Guzzler. The most obvious change in the original Bison Deep Well Pump is the use of a three-inch stainless steel riser, in place of the 1-1/4-inch riser. The riser is the primary cylinder of the pump, to which the handle and spout are welded. “The standard riser is darn near indestructible with normal use, but Konbit Sante really needed an extra rugged design to withstand the heavy use in Haiti,” said David Harbison, president of Bison Pumps.
The new Guzzler was just completed and shipped for installation in a neighborhood near Justinian Hospital.
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