PR News: Greg Bixler at the Accord WASH Summit

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Abe Wright

Design Outreach
Telephone: (574) 527-3448

Press Release

Innovative Engineering Meets Humanitarian Efforts Approach to Provide Freshwater, says Greg Bixler of Design Outreach

Speaking at the 3rd ACCORD Summit on Excellence in WASH, Design Outreach’s CEO discusses how technology is now being used for a humanitarian end in the freshwater sector.

Winona Lake, IN – November 5, 2013 – Greg Bixler, co-founder and CEO of Indiana-based non-profit Design Outreach (DO), gave a stirring presentation at the recently concluded 3rd Annual Accord Summit on Excellence in Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) held at Calvin College’s Prince Conference Hall in Grand Rapids, Michigan from October 29-31, 2013. The event gathered together the major players in the advocacy to provide sustainable freshwater supply to villages in predominantly dry and arid regions around the globe.

Design Outreach, one of the top innovators in the freshwater movement, joined other major presenters in summit. Bixler presented the topic “Reaching Deeper: The Design Outreach’s New Handpump” where he provided the audience with a brief history of Design Outreach, their humanitarian work in Central Africa, and how they came up with their flagship project, the LIFEPUMP.

“When we first came to Africa, we found a large number of pumps were broken and the few remaining ones needed repair. Most of the pumps were already outdated and the parts are no longer in production,” shared Bixler, who is also a mechanical engineer, graduated from Ohio State University. “We realized that the problem was more than retooling a few spare parts: we needed to design an easy-to-use but powerful pump able to reach deep underground water. We often hear: ‘There is something in the air’. At Design Outreach, we say: ‘There is something underground’. It is water, and we are going to pump it up.”

Working with social entrepreneur and fellow engineer Abe Wright, they founded Design Outreach and came up with the innovative LIFEPUMP, which is capable of bringing up water from deep underground reservoirs in parched lands such as those in Central Africa. The hand-operated pump helped provide potable water to homes not only for drinking, washing and sanitation, but for irrigating farmlands in the countryside as well. Despite being powered only by two hands, the LIFEPUMP can draw water from as deep as 500 feet. Bixler presented how this sustainable solution has worked in bringing, not only water, but also hope to a growing number of villages worldwide.

However, the work is not yet done, according to Bixler. Design Outreach continues to improve the design of the LIFEPUMP, educate people from the village on the role of sanitation and hygiene in community living, and extend their network of partners to save more lives with freshwater production.

“Our industry partners include subject matter experts as well as leading producers of key components to a larger solution. Some have specialized expertise, such as in progressive cavity pumps for instance,” Bixler said. “We are proud to be a part of the ACCORD Summit since its foundation in 2011. This Michigan event will help us to scale up so we can provide thousands more villages with clean water.”

For more information about Design Outreach and their LIFEPUMP system, visit their website,, or watch this video on YouTube.

Interested donors and partners may also connect with Design Outreach through their Facebook, Twitter and Linked-In accounts.

About Design Outreach

Design Outreach (DO) is a non-profit organization which creates life-sustaining solutions for developing countries. DO works with volunteers, donors, and suppliers in creating products that create impact on the fight against poverty, particularly on the forefront of the global water crisis.

Design Outreach envisions developing countries empowered to face the challenges of poverty through properly engineering everyday products. To achieve this vision, DO collaborate with established field partners who are engaged and live with the people who will eventually use the product.  This invaluable anthropological, customer-based approach to product design is the key to the sustainability and scalability of their systems.

Design Outreach can be reached through 224 W. Johnstown Rd. Gahanna, OH 43230 or by telephone 574-527-3448 and email:


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