December 2018

Hello subscriber subscriber, 

Sally visits Jacana

Rik Haanen’s invitation to visit him and his work on the way to the SMART centre symposium in Mzuzu was very welcome, and proved a great eye opener for me. I have previously worked for many years on large hydraulic and percussion rigs and also, at the other end of the spectrum, with traditional and modern well-diggers, but never with manual drillers. So I had (and still have) a lot to learn. It was fascinating to see the crews in action, and their modifications to basic drilling principles to make them work at a smaller scale and so cut costs but not quality of work.

It was really impressive to see the team spirit, humour and commitment of drilling crews, determined to reach water despite impossibly difficult conditions. Using the SHIPO method with mini-mud circulation they were achieving unexpectedly high success rates and almost seemed to welcome the challenge. The relationship with Clients, who generally provide food and accommodation to the crew, seemed warm and friendly and is another reason for the growing customer base. Demand is growing and has been given a great boost by both a major promotion on local radio over several weeks, and also by word of mouth recommendations. Everyone seemed very aware of the importance of establishing a good reputation and that the future of the newly-formed drilling company depends upon it. 

Who else would carry hundreds of litres of water by hand up a long, almost vertical, gullied slope (unreachable by vehicle until Rik’s intrepid driving) to drill a well over 40 metres deep? And also carry up the heavy drill pipes and collars, and even the drilling tripod and casing. Only the same people who the next week shipped even more equipment in dug-out canoes to a Southern Province island in the swamps of the Kafue-river to drill three boreholes. One might call it madness, but it is certainly impressive and shows a group of people who are really committed to work in a range of conditions that others would regard as impossible.

The SMART centre of Jacana has only been going for two years, but is really getting established. Working first at district and provincial levels to create good relations with local government, small businesses, farming cooperatives and farmers the word is spreading and demand has risen enough to create SME's of drillers and pump producers, whose progress I will follow with interest.


We also visited two recent customers and would have visited more but there was so much to learn from even two that we stayed glued to the bench. Both were, among other things, bee keepers and the bees were thirstily drinking from the pots at our feet as we listened and learnt what a gold mine bees can be. The bush around might look coarse and unproductive but the bees for one farmer alone brought in over $1200 of honey a year from the tree flowers of this ‘unproductive’ bush. So even before they began irrigating small patches of vegetables the well-owner’s income had grown immensely through being able to provide water to these diminutive workers and triple the number of hives.

Beekeeper Daka

Alongside plans for small-scale irrigation there was good understanding of the problems of vulnerable aquifers, lower yields and falling water levels. This was coupled with a desire to make sure scarce rainwater sunk into the ground and didn’t just run off to a stream and get lost to the land nearby. Thus Mr Daka, who was building his house by his newly drilled well, also diverted surface flows into recharge basins, and planned to divert roof water once his house was finished. This would boost his new well and might even increase the yield of a second well nearby which is presently abandoned for its poor performance. Jacana seems to have raised awareness of the need to conserve potential run-off and, as incomes rise, more people may invest in recharge as well as abstraction to secure the long-term future of their supply.

Having established the main technology aspects of Self-supply Jacana now faces the challenge of developing the market more widely and to a bigger range of scattered and remote households. But also in ensuring that the existing supply services created achieve a good level of sustainability and independence from outside support. The next two years will be an exciting time and I will follow developments through the Newsletter with interest.  So thanks to Rik and all the others I met, for their time and information so freely given, and I wish you all the best for the future.

Sally Sutton


We thank Sally Sutton for writing about her visit at Jacana. Sally worked for years in Africa to set up Self-supply. We are learning a lot from her. 

Thanks Sally 

donation jacana

Jobena award

As mentioned in one of our newsletters Jacana has won the Jobena prize 2018/2019. The jury says about Jacana: "We are charmed by the design and projects of Jacana because of the small scale, the help to self-development and the embedding of the local population."

Jobena has already made an amount of 5000 euros available and they are willing to double an amount that Jacana collects.

So if you were thinking about making a donation to Jacana at the end of 2018 or start of 2019, Jobena will double it. Klik here

In addition, we would also like to invite you on 3 February to attend the award ceremony in "Het Oude Magazijn", Soesterweg 310F in Amersfoort, the Netherlands. On this day there will also be an auction of fun, relaxing, healthy and educational events, gadgets and art. The proceeds will be doubled by Jobena Foundation and benefit Water for Zambia.

The program.
14.00 - 14.30 Welcome.

14.30 - 16.45 Jobena event with stories from Rik Haanen, drinks and auction.

16.45 - 17.00 Closing and handing over Jobena award by Cilia van Thiel. 

We would love to welcome you there. You can register via this link.

The Water for Zambia project helps small farmers and their neighbors to get access to water throughout the year.


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