Water Wells in Mozambique

This project is to provide the seed money to start up a small, self-sufficient, sustainable business to drill low-cost, high-quality water wells in Mozambique, a Portuguese-speaking country in Southeastern Africa that is sometimes overlooked.

The  business will be known as Mati-Kutenga Services.  Mati-kutenga (Mah-Tee-Koo-Taynga) means “pure water” in Changana, a local dialect. 

It is a Mozambican solution run by Mozambicans for Mozambicans.  Your donation will buy a manual drilling rig (the Village Drill), import it from Kenya, provide training, and materials and labor to drill two deep water wells in rural areas of Mozambique where clean water is not available for homes, schools and communities. 

Not only are we providing clean water, but this project will become a self-sufficient business that will perpetuate itself.  Mozambique needs a nimble, low-cost provider that can drill wells where big rigs can't go, for people who can't afford the expensive drilling costs.  Our wells will pull water out of a deep, untapped aquifer at least 30 m (100’) down – a drought-resistant source of naturally pure water where other local sources (like city water, shallow wells, or river water) are unreliable. 

Our vision is to become a preferred provider for families, school, communities and larger sponsoring organizations, because our rig will be light, simple, and very effective in undeveloped areas.    

Thank you for taking a moment to consider our project.  If you can't help right now, keep us in mind and send a link to a friend in the meantime.

A short overview of the pattern for our project:

Background and Context

Water quality and availability is a serious issue in Mozambique.  Most homes do not have running water, even in the capitol city of Maputo where we live.  Every day, I watch dozens of Mozambicans, who live nearby, carry containers into our wealthy neighborhood to collect water from homes willing to run a water hose out to the street. 

Currently southern Africa is experiencing a severe drought.  The reservoir behind the local Pequenos Libombos dam, that provides water to Maputo’s two million residents, is chronically low.  The city restricts water use and rations water to the distribution system for only a few hours each day.  Some homes have a water tank for storage, but most people gather water in large jugs for drinking, washing and bathing.  This situation has been ongoing for years.

Recently, my wife and I helped a friend, Maria, move to Zimpeto, near the capitol – into her own one-room home with a tin roof and dirt floor on a small piece of land.  The neighbors came around to meet her and her two boys once we arrived.  One told of waiting a year for the local city to connect water to his house.  But after paying and waiting, he still hadn’t been connected to running water. 

Everyone in that area relies on a 30’ (10m) deep well dug by hand.  My wife and I were led to two wells where Maria and her boys lift up water with a borrowed bucket on the end of a rope.  On closer inspection, I saw specks floating around in the water (but nothing wriggling).  This is what she drinks and uses for cleaning and washing.  Wells like this are susceptible to contamination.

Constructing the Well Pump
Once the well is finished and capped, we will build a manual pump using local materials.[1]  We have already built our own prototype to test feasibility.  (Quality components are uncommon and expensive here.  So, we made actual, local purchases to verify availability.)  In the future, the well can be upgraded with a typical, motorized pump or an Afridev manual pump. 

 Business and Licensing
The licensing process to run a well drilling business is simple and straight forward here.  A license obligates the well driller to submit water for testing, so that each well is designated as safe.  Our local contacts will help us both license the small business and comply with well certification laws.

Who are we?
I work as a Foreign Service Construction Engineer for the U.S. Department of State.  (This project is not connected in any way with the local embassy or the government.)  My role is very hands-on right now because of my construction and small business background.  I am an architect and builder and worked for myself for several years prior to joining the Foreign Service.  For the next year, I will mentor a few good men and women in  budgeting, bookkeeping and marketing to get Mati-kutenga Services up and running. 

I presented this project a few months ago to Armindo Mazivila, a Mozambican man whose character I trust completely.  He is honest – a quality not easy to find.  He will learn the skills of well construction and small business administration, then we'll find a few others to join him. 

He is young, honest and has a lot of energy.  After showing him several videos of the Village Drill[2] and other tutorials for building water wells in Bolivia, Panama, and Tanzania, he caught the vision of doing the same in Mozambique.  We already prototyped the pumping mechanism from materials bought at local stores, and identified quality materials for the well casing, pump housing and other parts from three local suppliers.

I will be in Mozambique for another 14 months or so.  It is just enough time to get this business off the ground and develop a market.  I'll remain a founding member and provide oversight, even after I move on. 

Finally, this is purely a volunteer cause for me personally.  All money goes directly to the purchase of the drill, shipping, training, materials and labor.   I won't receive any personal benefit, other than to see the lives of good Mozambicans improve and enjoy something most of us take for granted - pure, delicious, plentiful water.

Biographical Information
Nathan Fox is an architect and family man that works for the U.S. State Department as a Foreign Service Construction Engineer, managing a new embassy construction site in Maputo, Mozambique.  Previously, he worked as a general contractor and architect in Arizona and California.  During that time, Nathan also served as a scout leader, city councilman, and in a variety of volunteer roles for his church.  He adores his wife of twenty years and his five children (two boys and three girls who live with him in Mozambique).

Armindo Mazivila is a Mozambican citizen, born in Gaza Province, north of the capitol city, Maputo.  He has two brothers, and he is a twin.  Armindo has plans to be married soon. He is an English instructor and IT teacher for private college in Maputo city.  He loves to work hard, help others and be involved with in his neighborhood community in Maputo, where he now lives.  Armindo recently returned from a service mission in Tampa, Florida for his church, where he developed his English skills.  He loved working with so many people of different backgrounds.

[1] Water Pump: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IHkEPx0hj4Y&t=1s

[2] Concept Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4p4CZjX7DrY

Drilling and Well Casing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y0XT0PVMgAU
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Fundraising team (2)

Nathan Fox 
Raised $985 from 7 donations
Spokane Valley, WA
Armindo Mazivila 
Team member
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