A Futurepump Jamboree, Western Kenya

A week of solar water pump training, field visits and networking in Western Kenya.

As an ever expanding, global team, in the ‘age of information’, we at Futurepump, like many other businesses, are used to communicating through email, calls and instant messages. This is, of course, fantastic for the majority of business days, but nothing beats meeting face-to-face and being able to actually see the product and the customers.

In April, we did just this. The first Futurepump jamboree, a celebration of the progress we have made as a company, was a jam packed week of field visits, technical, sales and marketing training and general networking with partners and distributors from across the world.

There were two main aims to the week, to learn from each other and have a good time! Both were achieved through technical competitions and field trips!

The field trip

For many of the team the our solar water pump is largely theoretical. There is little chance to see the pump in the field with customers when either designing the pump or working on the business behind the scene. The field trip involved a circular tour, from our office in Kisumu round to Rusinga Island and back to Kisumu visiting farms along the way. The farm stops are shown on the map below…

Futurepump Jamboree field trip from Kisumu to Rusinga Island - solar pump training
Two-day field trip, Western Kenya around Lake Victoria, visiting Futurepump customers using the SF1 solar pump to irrigate their crops

This was a fantastic opportunity to see so many of the pumps in action in different locations, irrigating different crops and assisting farmers in different ways. See the images below for a snapshot of the farm visits.


iDE team members walk through rows of passionfruit - solar pump training
Members of iDE from Denver (USA) and Zambia talk whilst walking through lines of passion fruit on a farm using the SF1 solar pump in Ahero, Kenya


Lead farmer, Joshua Okundi shows the group his tilapia fish ponds - solar pump training
Lead farmer, Joshua Okundi shows the group his tilapia fish ponds in Kendu Bay. Joshua uses the solar pump to aerate the ponds.
James uses solar to irrigate his banana plants on his farm in Mbita - solar pump training
James uses solar to irrigate his banana plants on his farm in Mbita

Training days – collaboration and sharing knowledge

The week also encompassed two training days, technical and sales and marketing. These were aimed to share ideas and knowledge from field experience as well as consider what more we can do. The technical day included an overview of the history of the pump from inventor, Gert Jan, from the PRACTICA foundation and a technical Q&A session with the man himself.

Solar pump training, Gert Jan (PRACTICA) takes the stage for a Q&A session
Gert Jan (PRACTICA) takes the stage for a Q&A session, facilitated by Toby Hammond, Managing Director of Futurepump.

There was also the opportunity for the group to learn the more technical aspects of the pump through disassembling and reassembling the pump in groups. Got it? Time for a race! The teams raced to take the pump completely apart and put it back together! This was great fun with the winning team completing the challenge in just 4 minutes!

Sales and marketing training involved discussions over methods tried by the Futurepump team in Western Kenya; what have we done well? What can we do better? How can this learning be disseminated to potential distributors in other regions? – Find out about becoming a distributor for us.

An exercise on features, advantages and benefits of the pump, along with answering the important question of “why would you buy a pump?” were other activities on the day. It was fantastic to have the views of partners and distributors from 9 countries who have different experiences with marketing, selling and maintaining the pump in their countries.


Solar pump training “Why would you buy a SUNFLOWER solar pump?”
“Why would you buy the SF1 solar pump?”

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Author: Helen Davies