a West African nation of 10 million people, is on the edge of the
Sahara desert. It is a very poor country; with an average
GNI of $240, labor is cheap and mechanized equipment is very
One of the biggest challenges the Malian people face is water supply;
some villages have to dig as deep as 120 meters (400 feet!) to hit
water. Getting this water to the surface is a big part of this challenge;
traditional methods such as ropes and buckets are strenuous, and
more modern tools like electric or gasoline-powered pumps are beyond
the financial reach of rural Malians.
One technology that I promoted while I was in Mali was the Segou
Pump. This simple pump uses a combination of suction and direct
action to lift water to the surface from as deep as 18 m (60 ft).
Due to its simplicity, it is very easy to build, operate and maintain.
Mousa Kone, in my home village of Bounguel, had installed a Segou
pump in his own orchard a few years before. His pump allows him
to water his one hectare of mangoes, guavas, and vegetables. His
dependable water supply also makes him one of the few farmers in
the region to be able to grow and sell high-margin grafted mango
While I was there, we arranged for him to install and maintain
two more Segou, allowing him to keep up his skills and expand his