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IRC has since 2011, supported Hand Pump Mechanics Associations to develop into viable business entities. To enable the HPMAs understand, visualize and communicate their business plans, IRC Uganda introduced the business canvas - a tool used for developing, documenting and visualizing business models for new or existing businesses.

Hand Pump Mechanics Associations (HPMAs) in Uganda are recognized entities that provide technical support on maintenance and rehabilitation of rural water supply facilities. The idea of setting up the HPMA was to create a structure that would ensure a sustainable support mechanism for operation and maintenance of rural water points and increase functionality of the water points.

HPMAs were rolled out to all districts in Uganda in 2011 to provide timely technical support to Water and Sanitation Committees on operation and maintenance of water supply facilities. HPMAs were established in all rural districts within one year but operationalization of the associations remained a challenge due to a number of reasons; the associations expected government to fully finance their activities to enable them take off, as the amount of work and funds generated from supporting water source committees on repair and maintenance were not adequate to engage them fulltime.

Cognizant of this challenge, IRC Uganda conducted a rapid assessment of the market for HPMA services in Kabarole and Lira districts and supported a process of mentoring the associations to manage profitable businesses. The process was conducted in 2015 -16 and contributed to the following results.

  • Development of business plans that articulate their mission, value proposition, products and services
  • Review of their constitutions to; broaden their products and services, and introduce various revenue streams from members earning

In a bid to enable the HPMAs to understand, visualize and communicate their business plans, IRC Uganda introduced the business canvas. A tool used for developing, documenting and visualizing business models for new or existing businesses.

The tool helped the HPMAs understand the elements that are crucial for their business, develop key partnerships and relevant activities to enable them deliver their value proposition. They also have a better understanding of the different customer segments, customer relationships, promotion and distribution channels, as well as their revenue streams. The business canvas below shows a summary of how of Lira and Kabarole HPMAs have positioned themselves to take on a market based approach for their services.

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