There’s no other way to go for Bacolod based Alternative Indigenous Development Foundation, Inc. (AIDFI) but up as it bested 12 finalists out of 800 nominations to win the prestigious BBC World Challenge award with its entry “The Only Way Is Up.” The project involves the hydraulic ram pump which AIDFI has been implementing in Negros and has already installed in 170 villages benefiting around 50,000 individuals living in upland communities.
Auke Idzenga, AIDFI’s Chief Executive Officer received the award in the Netherlands proudly wearing a shirt with a Filipino flag. Mr. Idzenga is a Dutch married to a Negrense and has founded AIDFI. In addition to recognition, the foundation also received a grant of US$20,000 from Shell. This could be a big boost to AIDFI as they continue to spread the benefits of the ram pump to far flung communities.
The hydraulic ram pump technology has been around for years but AIDFI modified it to suit local conditions and make it more cost-effective. AIDFI has also installed the ram pump to other countries such as Afghanistan, Peru, West Timor, Vietnam, Cambodia, Ecuador, France, Malaysia, and South America.
The foundation installs the ram pump on a cost-sharing mechanism with the villagers and sometimes with LGUs. A minimal monthly due is collected from the villagers which will be used for the maintenance of the ram pump.
Ever since the online voting for the 12 finalists started, this blog together with perhaps every Negrense, has been campaigning for AIDFI’s The Only Way Is Up. The votes helped the foundation make it to the Top 3 Finalists.
Mr. Idzenga may not be born Filipino but he has a heart that wants to serve the Filipinos. Aside from the BBC World Challenge Award, AIDFI’s ram pump was also awarded the Community Initiative category of the Energy Institute Awards in 2010. This is proof that simple yet appropriate technologies can make wonders in uplifting the lives of the poor.