There is a lack of sustainable and safe water and sanitation supply for domestic uses and for economic activities which creates severe problems. Unemployment in local private sector is also an issue. There is a need for projects that contribute to the improvement of their living standards and the alleviation of poverty.
SHIPO does action-based research to test new technical solutions. They test if the technology is culturally relevant or effective and then adjust it to the local context. Technology that can be maintained with local knowledge and sourced from materials that are locally supplied assures that the users will not be geographically unable to access needed parts or repairs.
SHIPO trains local suppliers in new technology. SHIPO both encourages new technology and the transfer of technology to new geographic contexts. They initially introduced the rope pump, which has been used for thousands of years in South America, to Tanzania. Over the last fifty years or so, rope pumps have been refined and SHIPO has been making several adjustments so it can reach deeper; turn more easily; be easier to maintain; and use only locally available materials.
The program identifies and selects small existing entrepreneurs and invites them for training in new products so that the entrepreneurs can then sell them at a local market. The participants either pay for training or other organizations sponsor their training. Entrepreneurs then are trained in the new technology and can sell it, leaving the success up to the private market.
The network of trainers has built up over time, and local people who have been trained are now serving as trainers themselves and making money by doing so. There are only a few international trainings at this stage, and those that come in act as consultants.