Water Wells Dug at Idugo Island

  By Elder and Sister Louthan with Elder and Sister Wollenzien

  • 22 May 2013

The Idugo community members at official handing-over ceremony

On November 28, 2012, water wells were handed over to the community of the Idugo Island at an official ceremony.  

Idugo is a balmy tropical island on the Mozambican coastline in the mouth of the Sopinho River. This island has no running water, electricity, roads, nor vehicles of any kind.

People travel to and from this island in dugout canoes or handmade boats.

The people have been getting their water for hundreds of years from shallow hand-dug wells which are continually filled with silt and debris, providing muddy, hard-to-access water.  During the rainy season, which is horrendous in this area of Mozambique, water becomes much polluted from the runoff caused by the rain. Cholera, diarrhea, and other diseases result from the contaminated water.

Typical muddy well the community previously used

Humanitarian missionaries Elder and Sister Wollenzien were alerted to this island’s need through another senior couple, the Osborns, who were serving in Quelimane, Mozambique.  The Wollenziens visited the island with Elder and Sister Merkley, water specialists for the Church.  They met jointly with the leaders of the island to discuss the situation and agreed on a solution that would bring the island clean water.

1. The Church would provide all the materials and tools and instruction needed to build 10 shallow, cement-lined, hand-dug wells with steel lids. They would also provide hygiene and sanitation training to the eight different villages; two villages needed two wells.  The 10 wells would serve over 1,000 people each. 

2. The people of each village would provide all the labor necessary for the building of the wells.

3. The project had to be done in the very driest season of the year when the water table was lowest to assure adequate supplies in the future.

Members of the church, from Maputo and Florencio Rocha Amizade from Quelimane (with family residing on the island), were contracted to teach and help each village build its wells.  

Many attended from the communities, and government officials came from Zambezia Province and the City of Quelimane.  Each community was given a stamped certificate verifying their ownership of the entire well.    

At the closing ceremony several local men expressed appreciation for learning how to make bricks, as well as how to work with cement and reinforcing steel.  They were also grateful for learning to use a level, shovel, tape measure, saws and all the everyday tools they would use in construction.  They knew that there were other jobs they would be able to get with their newly gained skills

Other lessons learned through this project:  the people on the island gained another important skill:  that of working together as communities. 

Recent reports after a heavy rainy season indicate that since December 2012 there has been no diarrhea or cholera in the villages with the wells.