Water is Life
We have installed over 300 of the 500 boreholes and pump systems we set out to complete in 2015. When added to what was previously in place, 200,000 people of the Luangwa Valley, where we work and live, will have access to clean, safe water close to home. An accomplishment that lays the groundwork for the people we serve to improve their health, educational prospects, and community resilience for generations to come.
Impact of Clean water
Although larger NGOs that use more traditional rigs for drilling are making headway to improve overall WASH (water, sanitation, and hygiene) in many parts of Zambia, very rural and hard-to-reach locations, such as the villages in the Luangwa Valley, have not been targeted for support. Without an operation such as Makolekole, led by locals who care deeply about their community and are equipped with a lightweight, easy-to-transport rig operated by a local team of experienced drillers, these more remote villages might never have access to water.
Clean, convenient water sources underpin all efforts to improve community health. People without access to a safely managed water supply are vulnerable to dangerous water-borne illnesses, including typhoid, cholera, and polio. Where water is scarce or hard to collect, people are also likely to limit or eliminate handwashing out of necessity. This dramatically increases the risk of falling ill or even dying due to infectious diseases. The boreholes Makolekole drills are reliable sources of clean water close to home, which improves hygiene and disease prevention. With safe water consistently available, the communities we serve are positioned to confront the problems of infection and disease.
- Only 14% of rural healthcare facilities have water, with serious implications for infection prevention and control.
- A striking 35 percent of children under age 5 are stunted, putting their cognitive and physical development at risk.
- Neonatal mortality rates in Zambia are the same as they were 25 years ago due to a lack of clean water during childbirth. 3,708 babies died in the first week of life in 2022 due to sepsis, which is linked to poor water, sanitation, and hygiene in local clinics.
Children are often responsible for the chore of collecting their household's water. Particularly for girls, the need to travel long distances to physically collect water each day can limit their freedom to pursue an education. Beyond the simple time constraints, the health problems caused by insufficient access to water reduce school attendance. The opportunity for an education depends on water.
Education is the single most important factor in delaying pregnancy and marriage in rural Zambia. But without a water source close to home, the job of collecting water goes to girls who are unable to attend school and end up with fewer options.Donate
When water is far away, the burden of collecting it most often falls on women and children, especially girls. The responsibility of collecting water can even prevent girls from going to school. A reliable source of clean water relieves that responsibility, freeing up an enormous amount of time for women and girls to pursue other goals and have more fun! Moreover, access to clean water protects maternal health.
Every day in rural Zambia, babies are delivered by attendants who do not have access to soap and water. The lack of basic hygiene impacts neonatal and maternal health.
The number one reason girls stop attending school is the onset of their menstrual cycles. Schools without toilets and water deter girls from staying in school.Donate
Safety/Human-Wildlife Conflict (HWC)
The journey to collect water may not only be long but dangerous. In the Luangwa Valley, some of the rivers people use as water sources are crocodile-infested. Each year, people die as a result of attacks by crocodiles and other animals while trying to collect water. Having a borehole and pump system in or near the village reduces the risk of human-wildlife conflict, saving the lives of both humans and animals.
There are three national wildlife parks in the valley of the Luangwa River. It is a world-renowned wildlife haven, and concentrations of game along the meandering Luangwa River and its lagoons are among Africa's most intense.
The Luangwa River teems with hippos and crocodiles and provides a lifeline for one of the greatest diversities of habitat and wildlife, supporting more than 60 species of mammals and over 400 species of birds. It marks the end of the Great Rift Valley.
It was initially created as Luangwa Game Reserve in 1904. British conservationist Norman Carr was influential in setting up the South Luangwa National Park. A man ahead of his time, Norman Carr broke the mold of track-and-hunt safari and created conservation based tourism.Donate
Water collection is time-consuming and physically demanding. UNICEF estimates that a single trip to collect water in rural sub-Saharan Africa takes an average of 33 minutes, and the trip usually has to be made multiple times, amounting to hours of lost time each day. This decreases the effort and time people can put into making a living. With convenient village borehole wells, people can invest their time earning more income to improve their quality of life.
Villages with water systems can keep livestock and grow produce for their consumption, which improves nutrition. They can also sell their produce, which creates income for people, which is used for things such as tuition for children to attend school.Donate
Zambia is a lower-middle-income country with high levels of poverty and inequality. Around 54.5 percent of the population lives below the national poverty line, 59.5 percent of children live in poor households, and 45.4 percent of children live in extreme poverty. A striking 35 percent of children under 5 are stunted, putting their cognitive and physical development at risk.
The statistics on Zambia's water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) services are similarly stark. Only 18 percent of the population have soap and water at home, 68 percent still practice open defecation or have limited sanitation options, and 35 percent do not have a basic water service. In rural schools, just 19 percent have basic hygiene services (i.e., soap and water), and just 14 percent of rural healthcare facilities have basic hygiene services, with serious implications for infection prevention and control and the health and well-being of children and their families.Donate
Join the Makolekole Family.
Help us change the world..one village at a time.