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Southern Africa: Troubled Water

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In 2005, FRONTLINE/World featured the PlayPump, a promising new technology that pumped fresh water when children played on a merry-go-round. The story appealed to the good intentions of politicians, celebrities and funders, who gave support to installing thousands of these devices in Africa.

Now, in Troubled Water, reporter Amy Costello continues her investigation into what happened to those communities as the promise of the PlayPump fell short, villages were left with non-working PlayPumps for months, and the device’s biggest American boosters began to back away from a technology they had once championed.