In Mali, Lucie Bibata Dembele manages two of World Vision’s water drilling rigs and the teams of 12 men that run them.
Lucie is the only female drill rig manager for World Vision, not only in Mali but in the entire West Africa region.
When a village in Africa receives a well that brings clean water, it’s women and children who often spend hours every day carrying water who benefit the most. But it is usually men who design and build the water systems.
"I think my role is important because women can see another woman who fights for them. That can give them courage in all their activities, whether domestic or financial. For that, I know my effort will not be in vain," says Lucie.
With a bachelor’s degree in geology, Lucie originally planned to go into mining, where there is potential to earn a lot of money. Instead, she chose to pursue drilling for water, because the reality of bringing clean water to those in need is more meaningful. In fact, it is the part of her job that inspires her the most.
On average, it takes 2.7 days for one of World Vision’s rigs to reach a depth of at least 60 meters (about 197 feet), which provides an appropriate flow of water, resulting in a successful borehole and well.
During the operation, drilling teams stay in the communities where they are working, often in basic conditions. The days are long, and the travel from one site to another can be very rough. It is a physically demanding job, and crews are often exposed to diseases that are endemic in rural areas. When she was interviewed for this article, Lucie was recovering from typhoid and malaria.
The communities where Lucie works are often surprised to see a woman leading the drilling team, and she sometimes receives questions and criticism.
But, says Daniel Maizama, a World Vision program director in Mali, Lucie is “a wonderful example to her friends and sisters to challenge men and make a positive difference.”
Written by Mary Herrick
Photo@2015 World Vision