“An inspiring ecological association in Malawi”
Wells for Zoë is an association that we met by chance in Malawi. During our visit of the SMART Center Mzuzu (see article and video on this association), the same building was hosting both associations. Wells for Zoë welcomed us with Uyo to park the night on their parking lot. Rose, the manager, and her team invited us to stay as many nights as we wanted. We quickly discovered that the association is very inspiring, and its members passionate about their work.
The association is very active. It has many loyal donors, satisfied with the results of the actions carried out. The association focuses on 3 activities:
- The manufacture, installation and management of inexpensive and easily repairable water pumps,
- Planting trees for reforestation
- Free education for women who have not had the opportunity to continue their studies.
The water pumps are mainly financed by donors, for villages or settlements where access to water is still limited.
They produce low-cost water pumps in their workshop. The pump was developed by one of the founding members of the association. It works on the same principle as a bicycle pump and sucks water by creating pressure. The manufacturing of this simple, easily repairable and inexpensive technology is also taught to the entrepreneurs of the SMART Center association (see article and video on this association).
It is built from PVC pipes machined on site. The piston is custom made by plastic injection. They reuse the damaged bags used in the plantation behind. A resistance melts the plastic which is then compacted in the mold by a small manual press. The small mold is then plunged into a bucket of water to cool it, and finally to demold the piece.
Thanks to this ingenious use of resources, the association was able to install more than 397 water pumps in 2021. They also manage their maintenance, facilitated by quick access to materials and parts manufactured in the workshop.
For the plantation part, the objective is to reforest the forest which is diminishing year after year. The population is growing in Malawi. As a result, the consumption of wood for cooking and heating water is increasing, pushing the limit of the forest. The government is putting in place measures to preserve the forest but it is not enough.
Wells for Zoë is taking action to address the problem of deforestation. They plant several million trees each year. More than 176 people work from the cultivation of seedlings in the nursery to the planting in the forest. In the spirit of permaculture, different varieties of trees are selected by copying the biodiversity of the forest. The young forest is regularly flown over by drone so that donors can follow its evolution.
The last activity, which focuses on women’s education, is managed by 6 teachers. It benefits 250 young women who had no access to education due to lack of means or early marriage. Secondary education (high school) is not free in Malawi. Families do not always have the means to send all their children to secondary school, and often it is the girls who are affected.
Among the courses given, computer science allows them to be up to date with the new work tools used in the companies. The courses take place mainly on weekends when the young women have free time to come. Between classes, lunch is offered by the association. They cook Nsima made of corn and vegetables from their own crops. During the week, the students have access to the premises to study. Computer equipment, a library and a revision room are at their disposal.
All in all, we have seen positive results in all 3 areas of activity. This association continues to improve the reuse of each resource in a sustainable way. For example, they are working on a project to reuse sanitary wastewater to harvest natural gas.
A big thank you to Wells for Zoë for hosting us.
To learn more about the association, you can visit their website in English here. It is possible to translate the page into French thanks to google translation.
If you would like to support Wells for Zoë on any of their activities, you can go to their donation platform here.