The “play pump” supplies safe drinking water from a deep borehole every time children take a spin. For $7000 (US) and within just a few hours, one device can be installed to serve 2,500 people. So inventive, so cost-efficient, so much fun for the kids — and recognized by the World Bank as one of the best new grassroots ideas. Watch the video and look at more information about the project.

From the first season of the FRONTLINE/World series, we have searched for stories about people who innovate in ways that truly transform our interconnected world. This special site will feature the stories of people whose ideas and organizations create new and sustainable markets and services that benefit underserved communities everywhere in the developing world. In a nutshell, these are stories about individuals whose ideas leap beyond charity to find systemic solutions to poverty, education, health and social justice.

FRONTLINE/World has profiled a computer engineer in India who puts Internet kiosks in poor neighborhoods throughout his country, helping bridge the digital divide for thousands of children. In Kenya a world-class long-distance runner uses her prize money to start a training camp for poor village women, like herself, whose lives are changed forever. In South Africa a business entrepreneur invents and installs a merry-go-round pushed round by children that pumps enough water for a village of 2,500, making the delivery of clean water child’s play. In Guatemala, an American coffee distributor helps develop organic growers among the region’s poor farmers, whose beans can be marketed as “fair trade” providing them a living wage. In Uganda, two young social entrepreneurs develop a revolutionary model for microlending, using the Internet to connect borrowers with lenders, person to person, a venture that has grown from one small village in Africa to 11 countries around the world.

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