How One Solar-Powered Innovation Changed an Entire Community

A solar “vending machine”Smart Tap is a simple-to-use kiosk, like a vending machine for water—with one tap of an electronic token, water flows freely. The mechanism uses energy from solar panels to disperse water, which is funneled from the ground and stored in a 10,000 liter, chlorine-treated surface tank. The front-facing part of the system, or “Water Hub,” is an electronic kiosk equipped with a place to tap pre-filled tokens. After someone taps their token, water gushes from one of the three spouts connected to the tank. It’s an easy-to-use, efficient design, and everyone in the community is issued a token.Tokens are filled by the Water Hub Treasurer, a local man named Mzee Omar Hagga. Action Against Hunger sends him bulk water credits through SMS messaging, and he can then top up each person’s tokens.“You can even wake him up late at night and he will still load your token,” said Habiba, laughing.Access to water has never been so easy for the villagers of Yaqbarsadi. Load the token, draw water: it’s that simple. Smart Tap requires less physical effort than a traditional hand pump, it breaks down far less frequently, and it’s much safer than traditional water sources, which are often contaminated.

Smart Tap has done more than provide clean water, combat community-wide malnutrition, and even save lives—it has also inspired hope.