Jan 2023

Hello ,

There are several methods of manual borehole drilling. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages. During training, it is always a challenge to explain what is happening underground. Our colleague Collins Musonda made animations to show this. Drillers now see what is happening and become creative problem solvers. That is important because each borehole comes with its own set of challenges.

NEW Tutorial: Simple manual drilling, Mzuzu method

The Mzuzu drill is the simplest borehole drilling method. The equipment can be made by any trained welder and uses only common local materials. Watch the video tutorial with animations:
The Mzuzu drill can reach 15 to 20 meters deep in soft and medium hard ground layers. It cannot drill through stone layers and not deeper than 6 meters under the static water level. But it is extremely simple and affordable.
Free manual on making the equipment and use of it at:

Tutorial manual borehole drilling, SHIPO method

This tutorial explains manual borehole drilling with SHIPO method up to 40 meters. This equipment can also be made by any trained welder and also uses only locally available materials. Watch the video tutorial with animations:
Tutorial manual drilling
Practically speaking, this method drills to a depth of 40 metres, although there are teams that have reached 50 metres. It can go through rock layers of 1 to 2 meters. SHIPO drilling is a combination of different techniques, it requires more skills and is a bit less affordable compared to Mzuzu drilling.
You will also find free manuals on how to make the equipment and how to use it at:

Ground water recharge, catching the rain

More and more shallow hand dug wells (less seep than boreholes) run dry at the end of the dry season, because more water is taken out than is coming in by the natural recharge. Reasons of limited groundwater recharge are: heavy rainfall in short time on compact topsoil layers, erosion because of loss of vegetation, etc. Watch the video tutorial.
A solution is to catch rainwater, that otherwise would run off to rivers or evaporate and let it penetrates into the ground.
There are many options to increase the recharge of ground water for example: construction of above or underground dams, planting of trees and plants such as vetiver grass, making contour canals etc. Another option is the so called “Tube recharge”. This low-cost option combines a short manually drilled hole through compact soil layers, a drainage tube, a filter and a small pond.
Download the free manual at:
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Simple is not Easy

Remember "Simple is not Easy" (source: Henk Holtslag), lots of practice and guidance by professionals is needed to become a good manual driller, this can be provided by one of the SMART Centers (


Mile stone,

Small-scale entrepreneurs work whenever they can; today, another milestone, water entrepreneurs -trained by us- installed pump number 600 serving 77,248. Some partly sponsored, other fully paid by the user.

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