Women and girls in Africa lose an astounding 40 billion productive hours every year walking for water—water that is most often contaminated and makes their families sick. Bopoma Villages drills wells that provide communities with clean water, and give women and girls more time to grow food, go to school, and earn an income.
But how do we keep clean water flowing to communities in need? The history of wells in Africa is disheartening. Hundreds of millions of dollars have been wasted drilling wells that now litter the continent, useless, because they were not maintained or fixed when they broke down.
This well was the cause for much celebration in the community. It brought clean water to hundreds of villagers for almost a year before it broke down. By this time, the organization that drilled the well was onto another project and no one knew how to fix the well or was responsible for dealing with the problem. The broken well continues to be a daily reminder of what could have been as women pass by it every day on their long walk to the contaminated stream they used before the well was drilled. It doesn’t have to be this way.
Bopoma Villages works with communities before drilling, to ensure that they have the training and commitment to maintaining and repairing their well.
Before a borehole is drilled, communities are trained in biointensive farming and helped to develop a community garden for the benefit of the families in greatest need. The garden provides the community with the opportunity to demonstrate their ability to commit to a project and work together to develop their community. Bopoma Villages also equips communities to save funds for their needs, including borehole maintenance, through a village savings and loans system known as table banking.
Once a community demonstrates commitment to maintaining their community garden and has raised the funds for the first year of borehole maintenance, Bopoma Villages works with the village leaders and volunteers to equip them to take ownership of the well and its maintenance and repair.
Since 2014, Bopoma Villages has drilled eleven wells. Every one remains in good repair, and continues to bring desperately needed clean water to families across Zaka, Zimbabwe. Bopoma Villages is committed to bringing long-term life change through projects that equip communities with training and skills that put them on a path out of poverty to health and the dignity of self-reliance.