We had arrived. An hour off the beaten track from Mzuzu, and down a dusty and orange scorched road, the red brick classrooms of the Enyezini community school came into si...
We are an Irish voluntary organisation, founded in 2005 and working mainly in Northern Malawi, focused on enabling the rural poor to access clean, safe, drinking water. Working with women’s self-help clusters, a package including preschool, Girl Child and adult education, and conservation farming, this bottom-up approach has a sustainable and life changing impact on communities.
How can it be that so many people are deprived of this basic human right, considering that, in Northern Malawi, we can enable villagers access to clean, safe water for life at a cost of about one Euro each??
We deliver 100% of all public donations to our projects; that means no admin fees, no wages, no hidden extras are taken away. All the money goes to the people and their projects.
approx no. of PEOPLE provided with access to CLEAN WATER since 2005
THE GIRL CHILD PROJECT: supporting girls attending Secondary School
rural HEALTH CENTRE built
FARMS established for RESEARCH and TEACHING
GIRLS HOSTELS supported, to help with the GIRL CHILD Project
GIRLS to UNIVERSITY from Chipita School for 2014-2015 academic year
approx. PRESCHOOLS supported with materials for roofing
CERTIFIED SEEDLINGS harvested in 2016 ready for sowing and distribution
There are volunteers in Áras Kate working with the local teachers in the classroom and the local cook in the kitchen. Volunteers built the building and dug the well but volunteers are only part of the story. Wells for Zoë is here not to do things for the community, but to work with the community. They’re here to work in partnership, recognising that only through partnership will the work sustain itself. Only through partnership will the work make any difference.
The one question asked over and over to me by friends and family when I returned was ‘Is it sad?’. But my simple reply was ‘It is not sad unless you make it that way’. You can stand back and pity the poor or you can get so involved that you don’t even notice the difference in your lives.
I had a wonderful time and came home with some amazing memories as well as great friends. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Wells for Zoë again for letting me be a part of their amazing work and wish them all the best in their ongoing work. They truly are an inspiration to us all.
I continuously heard the Malawian people praise John and Mary for their kindness and generosity. From Will.I.Am exclaiming “John is a hero, he is a good man, no, a great man!”, to the tiny tots at Áras Kate shouting “Gogo Mary!” and waving frantically at their favourite teacher. I am beyond grateful to them for giving me the opportunity to volunteer with Wells For Zoë. I had the most amazing 8 weeks of my entire life.
I was inspired this summer to see John and Mary at work. They work with endless enthusiasm and love for Malawi and its people everyday. The locals welcome them with open arms and an open heart. Mary and John have an understanding and respect for the culture and way of life in Malawi, something which took me and many volunteers some time to adjust to. This understanding allows Wells for Zoë not only to become part of a community but to bring new life and hope into the communities.
These interactions are why I will always be a supporter of Wells for Zoë and the Coynes. Their commitment, passion and focus are inspirational. They are the constants, the campaigners, the supporters and the champions of the people of Northern Malawi. But what I liked the most was their mantra, which was evidently put to practice every day – “we give them a hand up, not a handout”.
W4Z is a small Irish charity that has a major impact in Malawi in Africa, providing clean and safe water. In the past year they have installed 1,000 pumps that will provide clean water to over a quarter of a million people for life! W4Z has a proven track record in delivering impressive results despite the fact that they are a small charity that receives no government funding and relies completely on small private donations. This $5,000 grant will provide up to 10,000 people with clean water for life or send 50 girls to secondary school – this makes a phenomenal difference in their lives, the lives of their children and in their communities.
Thanks to your help and the work of others on the ground, one third of the site is now planted with vegetables, fruit and other farm produce which will be of real benefit to our own project but also provide nutritional produce for the families of the children. These we also hope will be able to transfer the knowledge and the produce to start little plots in their own communities. We thank you for your inspiration and practical support in this initiative.
Having spent just over a week here so far I am in awe of what could be achieved if we stayed longer or came back again. John and Mary Coyne have achieved so much with Wells for Zoë and I am proud to be able to say that I have assisted them with even just a tiny percentage of that great work.
I have been thoroughly impressed by the work of John and Mary Coyne. Their commitment and devotion to the NGO has been vital in improving the lives of so many Malawian people. My time here has inspired me to continue working with this great group of people. I look forward to exploring future possibilities on how to make Wells for Zoë even more exceptional than it is today.
Going home, I know why I am here. I am not here to do the jobs that the Malawi people could do in half the time. I am not here to teach or to preach, to lead or to be followed. I am here to work with the people, to build friendships, a network of support and encouragement that can be continued long into the future. I know that while I may be back in Ireland soon, Wells for Zoë will continue to be here in Malawi, and will continue to be a community of people that will always be there, that will always offer help and support, that will always extend the hand of friendship and that will never give up.
John described the volunteer experience as ‘nourishment for the soul’. This, for me, really provides a true description of what the Malawian experience can provide for a volunteer...Mary and John are a true inspiration for the commitment and energy they put into Malawi. I wish you well in your next trip and I hope to remain involved in Wells for Zoë in future years to come.
For me, this is the real Africa – this is the heart of Africa, and I feel so lucky to have been able to catch a glimpse of it. Thank you for a wonderful, heart-warming experience, and I hope to return again soon.
When people ask me what the most significant thing we did in Malawi was, I don’t reel off the list of physical things we changed. I don’t tell them about the labour on the farm or about the work we did later in the preschool. I tell them we met people. I tell them we connected with people. And if anyone asks me if I think we influenced change, I tell them we can’t affect change. But we can affect people.
Why Malawi? The answer to that one is simple and more concrete – Wells for Zoë. This amazing charity, set up in 2005 by John and Mary Coyne, has made huge changes in the area of Mzuzu, Malawi. I truly admire the ethics and hard-work put into this organisation. Their sustainable and bottom-up approach has changed many lives and will leave a lasting impact on Malawian communities. I couldn’t be more humbled by having them take me under their wing.
From the Wells for Zoë workers in Malawi, to the Volunteers who met some of them, to those who volunteer in “Well, Well, Well” our Charity Shop in Dublin, to the Board, click and see the W4Z Personnel.
Below are some of the people behind the Wells for Zoë ‘machine’. These are by no means the most important as that accolade is probably reserved for the people of Malawi who are helping themselves to a better future. More of our very special volunteers, Board members and Malawian workers can be found here.
John co-founded Wells for Zoë in 2005 after a visit to Malawi which had left him saddened and bewildered as to the suffering caused by what he saw as the lack of access to readily available water.
Co-founder of Wells for Zoë along with her husband John, a former teacher and lecturer, she leads the education team in Malawi.
Emeritus Professor of Biology at NUI Maynooth, Ann and her husband are lifelong friends of the Coyne family She is a hands-on Chair of the Board.
Head of Learning at DIT, Ciarán has been to Malawi as a volunteer before becoming the secretary. He, along with his colleages and students at DIT, are some of the most active members of the w4z family.
We are always in the business of installing pumps: the Malawian people dig the wells, we provide and install the pump, and hey presto they have clean safe water to drink close to their homes. The endless cycle of walking miles for (often disease-ridden) water is broken and they can then concentrate on living rather than simply surviving.
One of the next things that comes is a little farming to grow their own food and maybe even some to sell to make survival money. We harvest and distribute our own Ministry Certified Seedlings from our model farms – no GM fertiliser-hungry seedlings for us.
The other area that access to clean water lets us move onto is the Education of the Girl Child and we are very focused on this at present enabling 98 girls to attend secondary school – part funded by the w4z Charity Shop and our donors.
These are predominantly our blog posts from Blipfoto (our daily Phlog or photo-blog) but some are other news items we want to share, coupled with progress from the various parts of the Wells for Zoë ‘machine’. Various press items and coverage are also included here. Stay tuned…
The first three below are our most recent posts and the final three are our first posts.
We have had great help over the years from many donors but those shown below are some organisations who have shown us great support. Without their help we would not be able to operate on the scale we would like to. We still pay all administration costs ourselves and 100% of all donations go to Malawi so these organisations’ contributions all went to the heart of the matter.
We are pretty social people so have a w4z Facebook page and a Wells Wells Wells Facebook page for our Charity Shop in Dublin. We have a Twitter feed, an Instagram site, and a YouTube channel. We also have a photo blog site (our phlog) with Blipfoto – the people behind the one photo everyday concept of blogging. We really want you to follow us and keep up-to-date with everything we are doing. This is important to us.