What impact does a well have on the health of the community?

Water-related diseases like diarrhea, dysentery, and cholera are prevalent in remote areas of Zambia, Malawi, and Tanzania. One in five children under the age of five die as a result of these water-related diseases. In areas where Wells are installed, the cases of water-borne diseases drops drastically. In some cases it is reduced to zero.
This means that the health and quality of life of the communities is exponentially improved. Healthier people are more productive. Children are able to go to school and families work in the field more often to produce more food. Time spent fetching water is reduced, making more time for productivity, entrepreneurship, and upward mobility.

If I can’t give $400, can I still donate?

Yes. Any amount is acceptable and useful in this ministry. Many of our wells are funded by donations of less than $400. Sometimes donors will get together with a group of friends, Sunday school class, or Small Group to collect the full amount.

Can I donate online?

YES! Just head over to our DONATE PAGE.

How can I get someone to give a presentation about MMM?

Contact Amanda HERE.

Who funds the volunteer trips?

The volunteer trips are funded by the volunteers themselves, either personally or through sponsorship or fundraising efforts. The average cost is between $3000 – $5000, depending on the price of plane tickets and accommodation in Malawi, Zambia, and Tanzania.

When do volunteers go and for how long?

Each year we take two volunteer teams of twenty people maximum for three weeks at a time. The first team goes from mid-September to early/mid-October. The second team goes from early/mid-October to late October. Volunteers go at this time of year because it is the “installation season” when the water table is at its lowest level making it the best time to install wells to ensure it has water all year round.

Why do you take Volunteers instead of just sending Money?

  • Volunteers do important work: Driving 4WD trucks to deliver parts and people to the well sites; Documenting information about the well’s location, depth, etc; Dedicating the well with the village community to God’s glory.
  • The presence of American volunteers in an African village communicates that someone on the outside knows and cares about them. We bring the love of Christ through personal relationship rather than money or things. Being there in person is an affirmation of their worth as people.
  • The experience changes the lives of volunteers. They have a new appreciation of the developing world and a new outlook on life–not just on Africa. When they return, volunteers become our biggest advocates, storytellers, and fundraisers.

How do you install wells with no overhead cost?

Our minimal overhead costs are covered by donations designated for administrative costs. It helps considerably when donors designate 5% of their gift for admin. Every dollar donated goes where it is designated. If you give $400 for a well, every penny of that goes to pay for a shallow well with no money taken out for overhead. All of the funds we receive without a designation go directly to our work in Africa.

Can I specify where my well is installed?

No. The locations of the wells are determined at the local level—not from the top down. We cannot install wells in scattered or isolated locations. They must be relatively near other shallow wells and the support system so that maintenance people can cover multiple wells.

Where do you get the parts for the wells?

All of the parts for our wells are made in Africa by Africans. Most of them are made in country. The cement is made in either Tanzania or Malawi. The above ground pump mechanism is made from galvanized pipe, which is cut and threaded into the pump in our own workshops in one of the 3 countries. The PVC foot valve and plunger are manufactured in MMM’s workshop by subsistence farmers who are also Shallow Well Maintenance people. The PVC parts (63mm casing pipe, 25 mm pipe, centralizer, collar) are purchased from a manufacturer in Lilongwe (the capital city).

How long do wells last?

If the community takes care of their well and pays the annual maintenance fee, the well will be repaired if it should break. As long as they stay with the program, the well will last indefinitely. While some of the pump parts may break, the maintenance program provides spare parts and a trained maintenance man to repair it.

Why is it called Marion Medical Mission?

  1. MARION is the name of the town (Marion, Illinois, USA) where the founders live and where the first volunteers came from.
  2. MEDICAL needs were the original focus and we primarily took medical volunteers and supplies to hospitals in Africa. Since 1990, instead of focusing on CURATIVE medical care, we have focused more on PREVENTATIVE medical care via our Shallow Well Program, which provides a sustainable source of safe drinking water.
  3. MISSION describes our obedience to Christ’s call to serve his people.

What is a Well?

Find more information about the wells here