The water problem in Kenya is a daily struggle for most of the population. Some people spend 6+ hours a day gathering and carrying water to their village in order to survive. Their water often comes from watering holes like the one shown below. The local wildlife rely on these same watering holes to survive. As you can image, the water is far from clean.
Life for Kenyans is much easier in villages where they have established water wells. The water is easier to gather and it’s also much cleaner. Unfortunately, water wells have been very expensive to build. Most of the existing wells were drilled by other humanitarian organizations using expensive hydraulic machinery. The cost is prohibitive.
Koins for Kenya is now exploring a new procedure that uses human labor to drill wells instead of machinery. It’s my understanding the technique was developed by a man from Alpine, Utah and then engineered by a group at BYU. This picture shows the human-powered drilling process in action at a test location in another part of africa.
The first few test wells using this technique have been successful. However, the challenge with anything in Kenya and other parts in Africa is in shipping equipment due to the high tariffs and bribes that must be paid to ensure supplies and materials make it through customs. For this reason, Koins joined forces with owners of this technique to fabricate the human-powered well equipment in the small village where KOINS is located.
Koins is using a company in Mombasa, Kenya to fabricate the equipment. The equipment that drills the well can be used multiple times but each well needs a hand pump at the top of the well and also there is piping that is left in place after the hole is drilled, as illustrated in this picture. People will still walk to the well to get water but at least it will be clean water and more centrally located than the random ponds where they currently get their water.
If this human-powered drilling technique works, the plan is to begin drilling wells in the Koins villages because they can be done at a fraction of the cost. Just like the schools that are built there, the villages will donate sand, gravel, and the unskilled labor; and in most cases, they will be required to pay $3,000 to cover the costs of fabrication and the supervision by skilled laborers. However, many villages can’t come up with $3,000 so these are the situations where donors will cover the cost for them. Our local school, Morgan Elementary, just finished a fundraiser to raise money for the first Koins well. Our kids were part of that effort.
The first well will be built very soon in a remote village near the Koins headquarters. In fact, Burt Matthews is in Kenya right now working with Koins on this project. We’re all excited to hear how it goes since it could have such an impact on their future.