Updated Apr 11, 2018

Series of ram pumps for irrigation

AIDFI Hydraulic Ram Pump

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Auke Idzenga

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Stage 5: Scaling

AIDFI, as a social enterprise, is involved in both manufacturing and installation of the AIDFI model hydraulic ram pump. AIDFI has enough capacity to manufacture quality ram pumps for the present market and employs several installation teams to ram pump projects all over the Philippines. Besides its own teams AIDFI trained independent teams which purchase and in stall ram pumps from AIDFI. Then AIDFI has carried out complete technology transfer to Afghanistan, Nepal, Colombia and Mexico.
AIDFI has installed some 437 systems in mostly upland villages.
Over the years AIDFI has installed some 470 village systems with 917 ram pumps benefitting some 260.000 beneficiaries all over the Philippines and mostly in far flung remote areas. In the beginning AIDFI as a service provider went from one project to another and was dependent on the availability of funds of the client but could sustain its operation under self-reliant circumstances. In 2012 this changed when both the Department of Agriculture and Coca-Cola contracted AIDFI for several systems in programs which up till today continue. In the Coca-Cola systems, the water delivered is being measured by water meters placed in the delivery pipes and even before the given time limit, AIDFI could reach the target set by Coca-Cola. The project has so much impact that despite having reached the target, the program is continued and now even expanded to ram pump systems for irrigation. Even though AIDFI has developed around 15 different technologies for basic needs, the ram pump has become the flagship technology and 90% of its work is related to this technology. The ram pumps are produced in a very well-equipped workshop space of 625 m2 by skilled technicians. AIDFI also owns wing vans to transport the materials for complete installations on different islands. AIDFI as social enterprise has grown to some 53 staff of which 39 are regular fulltime and 14 on project base. These are mostly the community facilitators doing the social preparation for each technical intervention.

Registered in Philippines.

Focus Areas:

Leadership Development, Entrepreneurship, Economic Empowerment and 8 MoreSEE ALL

Leadership Development, Entrepreneurship, Economic Empowerment, Agriculture, Energy, Environment, Health, Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), Aquaculture, Wind & Water Energy and SanitationSEE LESS

Implemented In:

Philippines, Afghanistan, Colombia and 2 MoreSEE ALL

Philippines, Afghanistan, Colombia, Nepal and MexicoSEE LESS

Lives Impacted to Date
Key Partner
Countries Implemented In

Mission and Vision

The ram pumps being used for pumping of drinking water to public tapstands in upland villages make more water available which provide many opportunities as mentioned earlier. The benefits are better health, time saved and increased opportunities for livelihood. For irrigation the ram pumps can pull a crop through an unexpected dry period or even add a complete crop cycle. Irrigation through ram pumps will result in much higher income for the farmers. Many farmers are highly affected by the Climate Change in which rain fall has become unpredictable. Ram pumps are cheap in operation and maintenance and therefore appropriate for many upland farmers, this compared to diesel operated pumps or even solar pumps (high cost of investment and very expensive in repair). There are tens of thousand villages and farms which could greatly benefit from the ram pump technology if introduced and installed.

Innovation Description

Our innovation is a crossbreed of commercial and DIY ram pump models. We call it the AIDFI model which has taken the best off both. It has a high efficiency, can pump to great heights (250 meters) and has simple spare parts which are locally available or can be made locally. The AIDFI ram pump comes already in ten different sizes and can be produced piece by piece. The technology comes with social preparation and training of local technicians for sustainability of the systems installed.
How does your innovation work?
The ram pump is a forgotten technology with wrong timing in history despite the many unique advantages of the pump. The ram pump is a device which utilizes the energy contained in falling water. A portion of the water passing through the pump is elevated over great height differences (up to 240 meters) and distances (up to 5 kilometers) without the use of electricity or fuel but just the power of water. The principle of the pump is conversion from velocity into pressure. The ram pump systems are installed at sources like springs, streams and rivers which are situated below the villages or farms. Water which was previously carried manually to the villages is now pumped close to the houses in tenfold(s) and thereby providing many benefits countering the mentioned problems caused by lack of water. With the setup of registered water associations, AIDFI sees the water system as a triggering point for further development through empowered beneficiaries who now know how to lobby and/or demand for other solutions for their basic needs. In case of the upland farms, the environment friendly ram pump brings water at hardly any cost to the farms 24/7 and thereby avoiding crop failure caused by lack of water or even extending with another crop cycle. AIDFI envisions not only as many as possible ram pump installations in the Philippines but also in many other countries through technology transfers. It has concrete plans for such technology transfers to India and Papua New Guinea.

Competitive Advantage

On one side, there were the very expensive imported antique looking but efficient models from industrialized countries with difficult to purchase spare parts and in the last 3-4 decades on the other side the by universities and Appropriate Technology groups developed DIY models. These DIY models were cheap but unreliable and inefficient. AIDFI saw a gap and developed an attractive looking cross breed model by taking the best of both commercial and DIY models: efficient, durable and relatively cheap. The AIDFI ram is the only model that comes in ten sizes and is produced with local and easy available materials and spare parts. Many ram pump programs in the past failed because of the absence of social preparation of the beneficiaries and training of local technicians in operation, repair and maintenance. AIDFI applies an holistic approach (both hardware as software) to the ram pump technology to build sustainable systems. Since the technology was completely unknown in the Philippines, AIDFI had to carry out a lot of promotional activities and developed a working miniature set of the ram for this purpose. That the promotion and advocacy paid off was established when the Department of Agriculture adapted the ram pump as one of three selected Renewable Energy technologies for small scale decentralized irrigation of high value crops. Also, Coca-Cola Philippines adapted the technology in its program to return water to nature or people in offsetting their water consumption.

Planned Goals and Milestones

In the Philippines AIDFI is planning to engage itself more and more into irrigation projects utilizing the ram technology. There are thousands of upland farms which are rainfed dependent and could have increased production (pulling a crop through drought or even add a complete crop cycle) at hardly any additional cost and without CO2 and SO4 emission. AIDFI will, eventhough it has already ram pump sizes for irrigation, produce a bigger size ram pump. The designing, proto typing and actual testing in the field will be planned. The irrigation program will be additional to the existing drinking and household ram pump program which will continue. On a yearly basis, 25-30 irrigation projects are planned. All ram pump installations will benefit up to 50.000 per year. The manufacturing of an increased number of ram pumps is not a problem since AIDFI has enough precision machines, workspace and skilled technicians to cope up with an increased demand. For the increased number of installations, two new independent teams on other islands will be trained by AIDFI in all aspects of the technology except fabrication. Besides local expansion, the idea is to carry out more technology transfer of the whole technology to Mexico and Papua New Guinea. In fact, as of this writing a Mexican is in our shop for extensive training. Besides winning several international awards the biggest milestone for AIDFI was becoming a Ramon Magsaysay Awardee (also called Asian Nobel Prize) in 2011.
AIDFI will continue to train new installation teams since there are still so many villages and farms to be supplied with water. AIDFI is already capable to increase its production of ram pumps. More stressing will be given to the development, introduction and installation of ram pumps for irrigation. Promotion and marketing will be part of this strategy. Then AIDFI will continue to share the technology through technology transfer to other countries.
Projected Cumulative Lives Impacted200,000


Apr 2018
Recognition ReceivedPENDING
as part of
STI Forum 2018
Sep 2017
Recognition ReceivedVERIFIED
Featured Solution
Sep 2015
In the News
RELX Award
Aug 1997
New Country Implemented In
Sep 1992
Date Unknown
Lives Impacted

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