PlayPumps: A Playful Solution to Africa's Water Problem? (A)
This two-part case examines the PlayPumps project, which aimed to provide an innovative solution to water problems in southern Africa. Part A begins with an overview of the PlayPump, a merry-go-round attached to a water pump powered by children's play. It then describes the excitement of the media, philanthropists, and international organizations wishing to support the initiative, promoting its rapid expansion in South Africa and other countries. Part B presents the challenges and unanticipated consequences of implementing and scaling up the project and what happened next. By studying this case, students are expected to gain an in-depth understanding of the real-life challenges facing social entrepreneurs working to ensure a positive social impact. Students will see the limits of dominant approaches to social entrepreneurship in existing research and practice, observing how mission-driven innovation can inadvertently create a negative social impact on target beneficiaries - especially under the pressure of rapid expansion.