Many of the health problems throughout the underdeveloped world are water-related. This is especially true in the rural areas of Malawi, Tanzania and Zambia, Africa where the people suffer from dysentery and other water-borne diseases. Most of the villages depend on surface water collected from open ponds and water holes similar to the one pictured here.
The Synod of Livingstonia, Church of Central Africa Presbyterian (CCAP), has a goal of making safe water available to everyone – even those in the most remote areas of Malawi. In 1990, missionary Jim McGill approached Marion Medical Mission with a way to provide safe water to villages using shallow wells that are sealed against surface pollution. The first year, we installed 13 wells. Since then the number has increased to the point that we have installed over 18,000 wells by 2012. These wells provide well over 2,000,000 people with safe water.
It costs approximately $400 to install a shallow well. That only comes to a little over one dollar per day for a year! This is because the wells are built in cooperation with the villagers. The wells are self-help projects. Marion Medical Mission only provides what they cannot; the pipe, the pump, the concrete and some trained labor. The villagers make the brick and supply much of the labor. Each village signs a contract agreeing to pay an annual maintenance fee so spare parts are available.
The Barn has made this mission one of their Neighbors Matter focus projects. Over the past few years we have raised enough money to build 32 wells!