Innovation Update

Solar Pumps

We continue to work toward development of a solar pump that will be feasible for large-scale application. In the past year, we have increased practicality by switching from pentane to water as the working fluid, increased output from 10 to 15 watts/square meter (3 to 5 Btu/square feet), and developed a solar collector (pictured here) which is about a third of the cost of a vacuum tube collector, resulting in considerable overall cost reduction.

Water, Sanitation & Hygiene

Increasing WaSH development is a necessary step small farmers and villages must take on their way out of poverty. iDE takes an unsubsidized, demand-driven approach toward increasing the use of appropriate water and sanitation technologies in the developing world. Ceramic water purifiers, treadle pumps, and rope pumps all provide poor farmers with access to clean water; decrease the incidence of water-related illnesses, and provide them with potential income generating opportunities.

In 2010, iDE Cambodia introduced the Easy Latrine (pictured here), which sells for US$35, a significant improvement over what was previously available through local markets (the average rural Cambodian's annual cash income is about US $135). iDE also conducted a social marketing campaign to stimulate demand for the product. The Sanitation Marketing Project reached the 10,000 latrines sold landmark in just over one year; this number represents a 300% increase compared to latrine sales in previous years. The Sanitation Marketing program and the Easy Latrine have been recognized internationally, winning the International Design Excellence Award, and being inducted to the World Toilet Organization's Hall of Fame, and recently winning the inagural Lipman Family Prize from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

Participatory Market Chain Approach

Originally developed in Peru in 2003 and applied in several other countries, the Participatory Market Chain Approach (PMCA) has been proven effective in involving the private sector in market processes with a pro-poor orientation. The PMCA process aims to foster collaboration between farmers and traders, buyers, and intermediaries, providing efficient means of marketing good quality produce for good prices. IDE is implementing the PMCA process in Cambodia, Nepal, and Vietnam through our participation in DFID's Research Into Use program.

Water Wheels

As they access new technologies which enable them to grow new crops, our customers are frequently challenged by the lack of information on proper growing methods. As part of the Rural Prosperity Initiative, iDE, in collaboration with Wageningen University, developed a simple "Water Wheel" calculator based on local conditions to assist poor farmers in determining optimal water requirements for vegetable crops. These wheels will allow farmers to minimize waste and increase yield since crops will be receiving optimal amounts of water during all stages of growth.

A separate Drip Planner Chart (DPC) based on FAO planning guidelines is being developed in Ethiopia. It consists of two disks: one with crop and climatological data for calculating irrigation requirements, and a second containing soil-specific information for calculating maximum allowable irrigation intervals.


Do you want to be at the forefront of the affordable technology revolution? Your contribution to this initiative will help us develop and market the next wave of affordable, low impact, income enhancing technologies, like low pressure crop sprinklers that can work with drip irrigation systems, and a low-cost water storage bag that can hold 10,000 liters (2,642 gallons) of monsoon rainwater for use during the dry season.