Chiswick-based property sales and lettings firm Acre Properties, first founded in 1988 by Alastair Kerr [pictured], has built its business on a philosophy of treating all tenants as if they were brothers and sisters. It was no surprise, therefore, when Kerr looked to broaden the business’ reach by partnering up with charitable organisations.
To date, the funds that Acre has been generating for its partner charities are starting to bring real benefits to the communities that these charities serve, with the money that Acre has helped raise being enough for one charity, namely The Africa Trust, to install six ‘Elephant pumps’ within communities across Africa to help improve access to clean water.
Based on a traditional rope and washer pump first used 2,000 years ago in China, Elephant Pumps sit above wells, which are dug by hand by local workers. The water from the well is then lifted to the surface by a rope with small washers attached, which is guided through a pipe and around a wheel which rotates when a user turns the handle to collect water. These pumps are not only cheap to build, easy to install and made from locally sourced and sustainable materials, but they are ideal for small and remote communities.
Acre has been inundated by recent messages of thanks from local communities for their help in making the installation of Elephant Pumps possible, since this means that inhabitants now have access to clean water and children within these communities will ‘no longer be late for school’ as a result of having to attend to water-collecting duties.
Typically in Africa, each person uses at least one 20 litre bucket of water daily for all of their needs, which could require a mother and her eldest daughter within a family of eight to make around four trips a day to collect eight buckets of water to accommodate everyone.
Sometimes, the walk to collect water may span several miles, and during the long and dryer seasons more water must be collected in order to sustain domestic livestock and gardens where homemade produce is grown to help feed the family.
The Africa Trust, which was established in 2010 by Ian Thorpe [the founder of Pump Aid and The Elephant Pump] and [AquAid managing director] Paul Searle, aims to bring sustainable solutions to poverty in Africa, including establishing sustainable supplies of clean productive water and sanitation to communities.
Kerr said: “This [The Africa Trust] is a wonderful charity to be involved with as the effect of a pump can change a whole community. Education can be enhanced as the time it took to walk to water is now used for more time in education. Businesses can produce more crops for market bringing in more money into the community. It is all thanks to clean water from an Elephant Pump and we are happy to contribute to The Africa Trust’s great work.”