Thursday, 4 November 2010

AIDFI works hard for votes in last week of BBC World Challenge

(Pic: AIDFI gathers votes at a local college)

The BBC World Challenge is simple: be an innovative project that makes a real difference at the grassroots somewhere across the globe. The AID Foundation (AIDFI) in the Philippines certainly fits the bill. Its use of a simple technology, ram pumps - where the power of a river’s flow pushes water uphill - is saving time and money for 50,000 villagers.

An Ashden winner in 2007, AIDFI was selected as a World Challenge finalist this summer. Over the past two months, volunteers and staff have worked hard to secure votes. AIDFI has also been visited by an ABS-CBN film crew who, trekking across the mountains of the Philippines, recorded the impact of ram pumps in remote communities (pic below).

AIDFI Director Auke Idzenga has been manning the miniature ram pump display in a shopping centre in Bacolod City on Negros island (pic above). The display has attracted the crowds. Auke says:

“Even when you have completely explained how the system works. They will still ask at the end: ‘no fuel, no electricity?' The funniest reactions come after you tell the visitors at the display that the main spare part is an ordinary door hinge. They just shake their head.”

Auke says many of the shoppers in the Mall come back to vote.

“People first pass by the display, accept the leaflet with all the info, then disappear in the mall for a few hours, and then many people come to our booth and vote. They understand and are very, very proud that such a programme and product was developed on their island.”

For AIDFI, getting more votes is not just about the World Challenge.

“The campaign itself is one big gain for AIDFI. It's triggering so much publicity and officials are getting to know us more. What is very important is that people not only vote but as well share the link on their own Facebook page and their networks.”

Voting for AIDFI’s ram pump project closes midnight on 12th November. You can vote for AIDFI here.

No comments: