Professionalization of manual drillers

Current Situation

Over the past year Jacana supported the trained welders and drillers in expanding their business. It is time to view the current situation.

Borehole with pump

Borehole with pump at Erasmus house

There are 4 welders and 14 drillers actively engaged in producing pumps, drilling boreholes and pump installation. The welders have been able to expand their existing welding companies with the production of pumps and drilling equipment. It is more difficult for the drillers.They often come from small villages, earned their income by digging wells and are not accustomed to dealing with money commercially – unlike the welders. In addition, many of the drillers have had little or no education and some of them can not even read or write. Nevertheless all 14 drillers are very good at their profession. But to manage a company you also have to be able to keep your books, sell the product, put money aside to be able to replace your tools, etc. So far we see this is not always going well, of course, at the same time we also see that there is a market for manual borehole drilling, because there are now 25 satisfied customers who have already made use of their services without any sponsorship.

This year the Ministry of Water has introduced a new law in which all drillers must have a drilling license whether they drill with a machine or by hand. Water Resource Management Authority (WARMA) that regulates the licenses requires that the drillers have an officially recognized company, otherwise they can not apply for a license.The registration costs are approximately € 200/year, which is a huge amount for the drillers.

By the end of December 2018, the sponsored projects will come to an end. So it’s time to find a solution.

Which type of business fits best with the drillers?

Elizabeth Chipeta, a lawyer and Jacana’s board member, has investigated various Zambian business forms and, together with the group of drillers, has drawn the following conclusions:

  • It is out of the question that every driller can currently set up his own company under individual license.This is too expensive and for some who can not read or write it is not feasible.
  • A limited company with shareholders is also not an option, because too much regulation is involved and the group is still too inexperienced for that.
  • The best option is to set up a cooperative.This form is common in rural areas in the agricultural sector. Some drillers are even already members of an agricultural cooperative.The government also stimulates this form in rural areas, some of the advantages are tax benefits and low annual costs.
  • WARMA, after consultation with Jacana, has acknowledged the cooperative form and in this way only one drilling license has to be applied for, instead of 14.This saves approximately € 2,600/year equivalent to almost 3 boreholes with pump.

Elizabeth Chipeta

Elizabeth Chipeta facilitating

Eastern Manual Drilling (EMD)

After the group has agreed to set up a cooperative, they have chosen a name and, under the supervision of Jacana, started working on drafting a management structure, statutes, rules and business plans. According to Zambian law, board members must be elected from the members of the cooperative and the manager comes from outside. The group proposed unanimously Pious Nyirongo (employee of Jacana) as manager.

After consultation, Pious has accepted this position and Jacana has offered to finance the costs for the manager in 2019.

Results until October 2018

As a cooperative, a number of important steps have already been taken:

  • Cooperative is officially registered and the WARMA certificate has been granted.
  • Posters are distributed in the city.
  • Messages are placed on social media platforms.
  • The web-site is under constrution.
  • Two representatives cycle through the district and sell boreholes on a commission basis.
  • Almost all 80 families where the drillers have ever installed a pump have been visited. They like to be a sales representatives, receive some flyers and receive a small commission for each client.
  • For 30 days an advertisement will be announced four times a day on the radio and six times per day on Chipata TV (total costs €210).
  • The cooperative has now sent its first concept note and made contact with Members of Parliament who occasionally have some money for water supplies in rural Zambia.

TV commercial

Although the cooperative is less than a month old, good results have already been achieved. People from the region who have heard the TV or radio know where to find the cooperative. People react from all over Zambia through the internet. This shows that there is a need for affordable pumps and boreholes throughout Zambia. We, Jacana, learn from this that our work can not be limited to Chipata district.

Poster EMD


SMART symposium 13-16 Nov.

SMART symposium

Simple, Market-based, Affordable, Repairable, Technologies. A practical approach to reach SDG 1, 2, 3, 6 and 8

November 13 to 16, 2018 in Mzuzu, Malawi

SMART stands for Simple, Market-based, Affordable and Repairable Technologies. This practical symposium will train participants in key aspects of the SMART approach and will provide a boost to your WASH activities. It will provide information and discuss aspects like:

  • How to training local entrepreneurial champions
  • How to create profit-based and sustainable supply chains
  • How to improve functionality of systems, shift ownership from community-level to family level
  • How to enable and accelerate supported Self-supply systems

We will share 25 years of lessons learnt in rural development during which time over 10 million people have benefited from SMARTechs. After the symposium you will have knowledge of and access to tools and a network necessary to establish a SMART Centre in your country.
In many developing countries challenges are access to sustainable WASH in remote rural areas (“the last mile”), but also water related topics like reduction of rural poverty, food security and youth employment. To reach these SDGs millions of technicians, entrepreneurs, farmers and others need to be trained in the coming decade. With the experience in WASH and rural development, MetaMeta, Aqua for All, Skat, SNV and the SMART Centres will organise a symposium about “the SMART approach” which includes the training and coaching of micro and small entrepreneurs to produce, maintain and market SMARTechs. Examples are manual well drilling, hand and solar pumps, rainwater harvesting, groundwater recharge, irrigation, household water treatment and sanitation. The symposium targets policy makers, development professionals, organisations and others active in water, agriculture and development in general. It will provide a proven and hands-on approach to reach SDG1 (poverty), 2 (food), 3 (health), 6 (WASH) and 8 (employment) simultaneously.

The symposium programme includes:

  • Demonstration of over 20 SMARTechs – innovative and mostly locally produced technologies for WASH and agriculture – how to produce, maintain and market them.
  • Do’s and don’ts of setting up an income generating WASH training centre, including developing project proposals.
  • Overview of impact of and experiences with SMARTechs from countries like Tanzania, Zambia and Nicaragua.
  • Discussion on upscaling proven approaches such as Supported Self-supply and Family Based Management, compared to community Based Management in rural water supply.
  • Smart Water Solutions for Agriculture, tools and experiences from Kenya.
  • Field trips and interactions with businesses and technicians trained by SMARTCentres.

Logistics and application

The symposium will take place in Mzuzu, Malawi from Tuesday 13th to Thursday 15th of November, 2018. There is an optional fourth day on the 16th of November with additional field trips, allowing participants to engage in in-depth discussions with trained and mentored businesses.
The fee for the 3-day symposium is 475 Euros or 550 Euros for the 4-day symposium. This includes: study material, presentations, lunches and local transport in Mzuzu.
Participants are responsible for their own travel to/from Mzuzu and accommodation in Mzuzu. We can provide logistical support for travel from Lilongwe to Mzuzu and support in visa application.
For further information e-mail Reinier Veldman at, call +265996090132.
To allow time for visa, apply before the 15th of October by sending an email to the address above.

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3 + 11 =

Next generation manual drillers in Khova ward

Although the first generation has just started, it seems like Khova ward in Zambia is already developing a new generation of manual drillers.

Here under: the first generation trained and mentored in June 2018 by Jacana SMART Centre Zambia.

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