The African well-drilling work of ICDI, a cooperating ministry with the FGBC, was mentioned this week in a front-page article in the nationwide newspaper USA Today. Here is an excerpt–to read the entire article click here.
The whole process starts in the villages when the people who need the water show proof of their commitment. The top groups all require beneficiaries to buy in with some of their own meager dollars. Only then will the charity commit $12,000 to $25,000 to a project, about $15 to $25 per person, for a well.
Then, a hydro-geologist hunts for water sources, determines where to dig and how deep. Most rural villages don’t have electricity, so the well can’t be deeper than 300 feet if villagers are going to use a hand pump to bring it to the surface.
Next come the drilling rigs, usually staffed or contracted by a local non-governmental organization (NGO), the foot soldiers of Third World development work.
Costs are higher in land-locked countries such as the Central African Republic, where Jim Hocking, founder of Integrated Community Development International, says his highest cost for well digging is fuel. The ICDI just spent $1.5 million drilling 60 wells and rehabilitating an additional 150 wells there to serve the Ba’Aka pygmies.
Once the dig hits water, a pump is installed — the $600 Afrodev is a low-maintenance favorite — and water quality is tested for 24 hours before technical success is declared.
The average life expectancy of a well that should last decades is only 11 months, usually because a pump breaks down. So charities build maintenance training into their cost structure, since a paycheck for a pump mechanic is not a sexy Christmas catalog item.