Making a Mzuzu drill

Making a Mzuzu drill

Mzuzu drilling can be used for deepening an existing hand dug well or making a new “borehole”.
Mzuzu drilling is one of the most affordable methods but not suitable for all conditions.
Many hand dug wells are drying up (due to climate change). Digging deeper is often dangerous, especial when the well wall is unstable and is collapsing. In these cases the soil condition is often ideal for Mzuzu drilling. Let us help you find out if this method could work in your area.

Learn how to use the Mzuzu drill below. Get the manual at:



The SHIPO drilling combines sludging, percussion and jetting. It includes aspects of Rotary jetting and of the Baptist drilling technique.

The SHIPO drill method can drill in non consolidated deposits of sand and clay, small gravel and weathered rock, also hard layers can now be drilled with new drill bits with tungsten tips. For gravel or stones from 1 to 3 cm an open bit can be used combined with sludging by hand.

Get the manual for free at:

Making a Mzuzu drill

Making a Well Deeper with Mzuzu drilling

Does your hand dug well run dry? Is the wall of your well unstable and dangerous for someone to dig deeper? Often the bottom of your well is than sandy. In that case the Mzuzu drill can help. Learn how it is done.
It is advisable to add a simple ground water recharge system to increase your ground water level. Learn how with the help of SMART Centre Zambia.
Also learn how to make a Mzuzu drill set, recharge your groundwater level, make pumps and install them with other resources on this page.

Get the Mzuzu drilling manual at:



Soil Punch

Soil Punch

A Soil Punch is used at the start of a manually drilled borehole or tube well.
Depending on soil structure, this tool can make a starter hole of 6 meters deep.
Learn more about manual drilling on this page.

Get the free tube recharge manual at:

Ground Water Recharge

Ground Water Recharge

Many hand dug wells dry up at the end of the dry season, because more water is taken out than is coming in by the natural recharge. Reasons of limited groundwater recharge are heavy rainfall in short time, (climate change) compact topsoil layers, erosion because of loss of vegetation, etc. Options to increase the recharge of ground water are above or underground dams, the planting of trees and plants such as vetiver grass, making contour canals etc. Another option is the so called “Tube recharge”. This low-cost option combines a manually drilled hole with a drainage tube, a filter and a small pond. Rainwater, that otherwise would run off to rivers or evaporate, thus penetrates into the ground and reaches the first aquifer.

Get the free tube recharge manual at:

Or download a free more general manual from MetaMeta at

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Etta Project’s Dry Composting Toilet

Etta Project’s Dry Composting Toilet

Etta Project’s Dry Composting Toilet

The three goals of the program include:

  1. Construction of the dry latrines, working together with the families and our team of experienced builders.
  2. Train community members (children/students, teachers, community leaders and families) on hygiene and sanitation, to effect behavior change and increase the quality of health. Topics include: disease prevention, hand-washing, food preparation and consumption, trash separation/composting, safe water practices, and proper use and maintenance of the dry latrines.
  3. Train local sanitation promoters to monitor each dry latrine in their community, using checklists and charts that are posted in each latrine. The family is rated (using a color coded chart) on each task. Promoters share information and methods for how to improve hygiene and sanitation, and proper latrine use.
  4. Monitor the project with a behavior-based system, and use this information to improve current and future projects.

The Model: The ecological dry composting latrine is a simple, low-cost sanitation facility built using locally available materials.

The latrines are above ground and do not require water or complex plumbing. The latrine is built on a double vault system, with one chamber in use at any given time. A toilet is designed with two holes which allows for separation of urine from fecal matter.  Fecal matter enters the disposal chamber where it is contained and decomposes; urine is captured separately. When this chamber is full, the toilet is moved to the second chamber and fecal matter in the first chamber begins the composting process. After each use of the latrine, dry material (ash, lime, rice husk, sawdust, or dry dirt) is added to prevent odor, repel bugs, and start decomposition. picture2Used toilet paper is thrown into the latrine and will not disrupt decomposition. The process of filling one chamber, closing it off and switching the toilet bowl to the other chamber, and excavating compost must be maintained for the toilet to function properly. This model eliminates risk of fecal matter leaking into ground water, produces fertilizer, and conserves water.

The dry latrine MUST remain dry! No water or urine can enter the chamber. Urine is diverted through a pipe connected to the toilet bowl. The pipe is either buried in the ground, where it travels through a gravel and sand filter, or the pipe connects to a 10 gallon container, where urine is collected to use as fertilizer or insecticide.




Benefits of the dry composting latrine:

  • Hot tropical humid climate aids in decomposition of fecal matter
  • Region prone to flooding during the rainy season, causing pit latrines to overflow and contaminate yards and public spaces. Dry latrine has sealed, above ground vault that prevents waste from escaping.
  • Typical pit latrines contaminate drinking water (high water table/shallow ground water level in region). Dry latrines contain fecal material in concrete chambers.
  • Produces rich fertilizer (solid and liquid) for crops
  • Conserves water (many local communities lack access to water)
  • Provides an above ground “hut” for privacy and safety (free of dogs, snakes, and vermin. Women, children, and men are exposed to these dangers with pit latrines and open defecation).


Typical pit latrine during rainy season


Dry composting latrine

Community Training

Etta Projects program coordinators organize community workshops to raise public awareness about the consequences of poor sanitation as well as to organize and motivate villagers to change their current sanitation situation. Community meetings include sanitation mapping exercises, and the discussion of sanitation and health topics: water related illnesses, the dangers of excrement, options to improve sanitation, and benefits of the ecological latrine model.

Villagers elect sanitation promoters to serve their community. EP trains sanitation promoters to support the participating families to correctly use and maintain their ecological latrines as well as promote additional healthy hygiene habits. Having promoters work directly with families enhances project sustainability through local knowledge. The promoters, who live in the community, are known, present, and consistently involved with dry latrine monitoring.

The sanitation promoters make home visits to evaluate the dry latrines on the following factors:

  • Does the latrine have a door/curtain (family’s responsibility)
  • Is the toilet seat covered with lid
  • Are there dry materials available inside the latrine
  • Is the latrine free of odor and/or insects
  • Is the latrine clean inside and out
  • Is there a stick for stirring the fecal material in the chamber, and is it being used once a week
  • Is there a hand washing station within 15 paces of the latrine
  • Are family members washing their hands after every use


Sanitation promoters teach composting in the school

Each indicator is measured by a point system.  A total of 22-24 points indicates optimal usage, 18-21 points is acceptable usage and any score below 17 needs improvement.

EP organizes workshops for school children in the community. Topics include:

  • Disease prevention
  • Proper Hand Washing Practices
  • Water conservation
  • Use & Maintenance of Ecological Latrines
  • Trash separation and composting

Construction Process: Families involved in each stage, including:

  • Selecting the Location of Latrine

    Elena learns how to cement her chamber door. After learning how to mix cement she made 3 grey water filters in her house.

    Elena learns how to cement her chamber door. After learning how to mix cement she made 3 grey water filters in her house.

  • Forming & Pouring Slab for Lower Foundation
  • Forming and Pouring Slab for Upper Foundation
  • Construction of Chambers
  • Building the Sub-Floor
  • Building Walls & Roof

Family testimony reflects the impact of the project on their lives.

One five-year old child stated “I am not scared of going to the bathroom anymore“.  A 72-year old woman shared, “Never in my life have I used a bathroom so clean.” Romana from La Patria said, “We use our new bathroom every day. I take out the toilet seat and wash it with bleach to make certain it is clean.”  Mary Sanchez, from La Patria, adds “I am very happy with my latrine.  When it rains, we really see the change this project has brought.  We no longer have to go outside in dirty, wet pit latrines.  I clean the toilet and make certain it has dry material.  I want to maintain it well, so that it will last a long time.”







Rope Pump

Rope Pump

Rope Pump

Worldwide some three million people now use rope pumps, of which 1.4 million reside in Africa where it is probably the fastest growing hand pump model. It is fit for family wells but, if management is organised, it can serve communities of up to 150 people.







Its high pumping capacity makes it popular for productive uses as car washing, life stock and small scale irrigation. For the same depth, the rope pump is three to five times cheaper than (imported) piston pumps. Some rope pump experiences: Nicaragua.

Of the 70,000 rope pumps installed since 1990, 80 % are used for Self-supply at family level. Families with a rope pump earn USD 220/year more than families without a pump. Ghana. Experiences with the first 200 rope pumps have been discouraging. 80 % did not function after one year because of lack of user involvement and errors in production and installation. The “wrong” introduction of the rope pump hampered the acceptance by the government for a long time and it took great efforts from organisations such as WaterAid and Victoria pumps to improve the “image” with better pumps and more user involvement. Ethiopia. After the introduction of the rope pump in 2005, local governments and NGOs distributed free pumps. Some workshops started to copy high quality pumps with low quality production and improper installation, such that sales went down.

In 2013 a training program was started to improve the rope pump quality and in 2014, 10,000 pumps were ordered by a local government. The rope pump is now part of the National policy to scale up water access with Self-supply. Tanzania. After the SHIPO SMART Centre introduced the rope pump in 2005, there now are 20 workshops producing pumps. Of the 10,000 pumps installed, 40 % are purchased by families.