Over the next three years, the U.S. government and other partners are to invest $16.4 million in PlayPump clean water systems throughout sub-Saharan Africa.

At the recent annual meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative, Laura Bush announced a $16.4 million investment by the U.S. government, the Case Foundation and The MCJ Foundation to expand the installation of PlayPump water pumping systems throughout sub-Saharan Africa. The public-private partnership will help provide the benefits of clean drinking water to millions of children and their families.

Powered by play, the PlayPump water system is a children's merry-go-round attached to a water pump. This design operates like a windmill turned on its side: As children play and the merry-go-round turns, the water is pumped into an aboveground storage tank and later accessed by means of a tap. In addition to providing safe drinking water to schools and communities, the product uses advertising billboards located on the storage tank to deliver educational messages to children and families. The advertising revenue helps ensure a decade of system maintenance.

Jean Case, CEO of the Case Foundation, says, “Limited access to clean drinking water has a profound impact on the quality of life of children and families in sub-Saharan Africa. Providing a clean water solution to an African community can open the doors of opportunity in so many areas - health, education, gender equality and economic development.”

The President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief and the U.S. Agency for International Development have pledged $10 million over three years to underwrite PlayPump systems through the nonprofit organization PlayPumps International. The Case Foundation will invest $5 million, and The MCJ Foundation will donate an additional $1.4 million.

To date, more than 700 PlayPump systems have been installed in southern Africa.