Sponsor a Borehole

It goes without saying that most of you have seen the ubiquitous “sponsor a child” commercials. For most people in Canada, they’re (sadly) a principle source of insight into Africa. They’re also a very effective fundraising tool.

Well, why not sponsor a borehole? Boreholes need help too. And they provide water for children. This started out as a bit of a joke, and it’s still kind of a joke, but I did realize some interesting things along the way.

Sponsor a child programs don’t actually work by “sponsoring a child”. Your money gets pooled into a fund which then goes towards community projects. Children who live in those communities get photographed and profiled for sponsorship, and get other special attention (like gifts, etc).

By the same logic, you could run a “sponsor a borehole” project, without people’s actual money having to go to a specific borehole. The project could be for a whole district, doing general borehole maintenance, and with “sponsored” boreholes serving as the main source of funds.

Main Picture

Who do you think will earn more money?

So, how much would it cost? Well, I ran some numbers. The organization these come from is one of the best in Malawi at helping communities operate and maintain boreholes. However, the numbers are also extremely unofficial. Remember, just for fun.

The average annual cost per district (excluding national overhead) of running the borehole maintenance program is about $7,684/year. During that year, using a network of area mechanics, about 400 borehole repairs are facilitated. Meaning, $19.21 per borehole repair.

So, for only 5 cents per day, you could sponsor the repair of a broken down borehole.

Getting a bit off topic now, but these numbers make me think of it: why are so many people drilling new boreholes anyways? Operational budget to facilitate the repair of 400 boreholes: $7,684/year. Cost of drilling one new borehole: $10,000. And yet, everyone is drilling boreholes, and very few people are working on repairing and maintaining them.

What a crazy world. Better get started on my sponsorship project…



  1. Hey Owen.

    Interesting idea and it sounds like it took you down an interesting mental path. I feel like if you keep thinking on it (or why this doesn't happen) you'll get to some more interesting realizations. And hopefully some suggestions.

  2. My! That's less than the price of a cup of coffee a day!

  3. Hi Owen. What is the actual cost of drilling a new borehole with all its hidden. cost. Where can I contact a local borehole driller to start a project in Malawi in the Mangoshe and Limbe area.
    Jamil Metedad

  4. Thannk you Owen. My partner and I are considering starting an employee-owned borehole drilling company in Malawi.

  5. Hi Mr.Owen We are India Base Borehole drilling machine manufacturers and we are looking to enter into malawi market with our product for any further assistence please visit our website: www.klruniversal.com.

  6. Hi Owen
    I am just googling how much the cost of a bore hole would be. I work in Africa but also India. We have been asked to help with this same thing. Quote is around £500 to dig down a couple of hundred feet, any thoughts? It will provide ater for around 100 familie!
    Great idea of yours! May pinch it! All the best, Janice

  7. Hi All

    I am looking to do boreholes in Malawi and need costs and people to do the actual work also the upkeep afterwards.

    please kindly send your estimates to

    I note hand dug wells with hand pumps are $350 , please quote for these as well as deep boreholes.

  8. Hi,all if u need borehole drilling, repairs,installations,water reticulation,farm irrigation, contact me on facebook.my name is bruce vera company name geo-pumps p/l we go anywhere in africa we based in zimbabwe.no job to big or small we 15years of experience lets save the people together we can make it