If you're thinking about donating a Dig-a-Well - or you already have! - and you're curious about the construction process - then this article is for you. We've put together photos from the eight steps our teams carry out after you donate a Dig-a-Well.
Please note: The construction process will be different for each water well. Our experts will decide, on a case-by-case basis, how deep a Dig-a-Well should be and whether it is manually-operated or electric, based on the environment, water source and the needs of the community.
Step One: Research
Our team visit the village which lacks access to safe water and assess the situation. What is the current water source they are dependent on - a pond, an old well or a water source in a different village? What are the main problems they are facing? Illnesses related to unsafe water, water shortages or walking for miles to access water?
Our teams call this a 'needs assessment': we want to learn exactly what people need so we can build the best type of well for them.
Step Two: Consultation
Our team consult the local community about where to build the new Dig-a-Well. Together, we find an accessible location - usually near a masjid, school or in the village centre. Up to 200 people (or 35 families) will be using this well every day.
Step Three: Preparing the Well
Wherever we can, we employ local workers to dig the new well, creating livelihoods in the community. We also aim to buy materials locally, ensuring that we support the economy of the area we are working in.
We are now ready to build a Dig-a-Well. Bismillah!
Step Four: Digging Begins
The Dig-a-Well is dug by hand to up to 40 metres below the ground (depending on how deep the water source is). It can take from 20 days up to one month to complete.
In some locations, wells are only constructed during certain times of year. (For example, they may be dug during the dry season to ensure they can reliably provide water during all times of year). This means that, after receiving your donation, it can take our teams up to 9-12 months to reach Step Three and begin preparing the well.
Step Five: Building the Nozzle
The 'nozzle' is a concrete line which is descended into the well to draw out water. It is built from iron and cement. Afterwards, it is 'watered' for two weeks: a part of the process of hardening concrete, which gives it more resistance.
If this was a Community Well or a Borehole, then it may include a metal pipes, a storage tank and taps, rather than people manually pumping the water out. Step Five will vary depending on the type of well and what our experts decide is best.
Step 6: Final Assembly
Alhamdulillah, the construction itself is almost finished! Our team now descend the nozzle into the well and construct an edge and door, covered by an iron plate to keep the Dig-a-Well protected.
If the well is electric, our team will also install solar panels before the final assembly. However, the Dig-a-Well displayed in these photos is manually operated.
Step 7: Training a Committee
We always give ownership of the water well to the local impoverished community. This is especially important when you have built the well through Zakat - because it is not their gift, but their right. They will also be in charge of maintaining the new Dig-a-Well.
So our team help the community set up a water committee and then we train them to maintain the well, ensuring it provides safe water for many years to come.
Step 8: Inaugurating the Well
Last but not least, it is time to make du'a!
The plaque is added to the well before the inauguration and then families gather to celebrate the new well. It is always moving to hear all the du'as they make for the donors and their families - and to watch their smiles as the clean water begins to run!
Whenever you build a well, you will receive a feedback report which includes photos, du'as and messages from the community after the well has been completed, so you can see the impact of your donation for yourself.
As mentioned before, the above process is just one of the ways a Dig-a-Well can be built. There are different types of hand-pumps used, some wells may use solar panels, the depth of the water well varies and so on.
Whenever you give a Dig-a-Well with Muslim Hands, you can rest assured that our experts will consult the local community and build the best type of well for them, always making sure to maximise the benefits while reducing the environmental impact. If you have any more questions, call us at 0115 911 7222 - our team are happy to help!
You can build a Dig-a-Well for £660 in a range of locations in Asia and Africa. If you can't give a one-off donation - don't worry, you can set up a payment plan to donate a well over 12 months. (Call us at 0115 911 7222 to set this up).
If you would like to regularly support our water projects, donate to our Safe Water Fund.
We would like to leave you with this beautiful reminder from the Prophet (saw):
We pray you reap the Sadaqah Jariyah rewards of providing safe water for many years to come, amin!
Muslim Hands is an award-winning charity, established in 1993 to provide emergency relief and tackle the root causes of poverty. We hope this article was useful to you - please share with friends and family, so they can benefit as well!