Dutch inventor wins BBC World Challenge 2010
The Only Way is Up. Dutch inventor Auke Idzenga could hardly have come up with a more appropriate name for his water pump project, which won the prestigious BBC World Challenge 2010 award for sustainable innovation, which comes with a 20,000 dollar cash prize.
Alternative Indigenous Development Foundation Inc. is the official name of the organisation Idzenga founded in the Philippines 20 years ago to provide villagers in mountainous regions with clean drinking water by means of hydraulic ram pumps, which uses the power of a river's flow to push water uphill without any other energy input.
The endless hours Idzenga spent perfecting his water pump have led to a major success. Not only did he provide 170 villages with water, but he also beat 800 other nominees for the BBC World Challenge 2010. More than 167,000 people from across the world cast their votes for one of the 12 finalists - 40,000 more votes than were cast in last year’s edition of the World Challenge. BBC World News Head of Programmes Paul Gibbs says the increase in the number of votes cast underscores the importance of the prize. “The World Challenge was the clear favourite of BBC News viewers”.
Idzenga received the prize, a cash prize of 20,000 US dollars, from presenter Zeinab Badawi. An additional boon for Idzenga was that the award ceremony was held in Amsterdam, offering him a chance to visit his Dutch relatives. Footage of the award ceremony can be found at the World Challenge website, including a video about the Dutch inventor’s project.
Cheap and virtually indestructible
The hydraulic ram pump is being praised for giving thousands of people a better quality of life. “No more back-breaking antics with buckets of water which had to be carried uphill during trips that last several hours”. The pump is environmentally friendly, can be used in any location where there is water nearby, is cheap and nearly indestructible. Idzenga trains local people to install and maintain the pumps.
Two other projects received a 10,000-dollar cash prize: Pass it On, a Peruvian initiative aimed at teaching farmers organic farming methods, and A Class Apart, a Guatemalan project involving a school built from recycled waste materials.