Making Zia Catchment Holes

Erin Rasmussen

Zia is a Moore word for 'pit', and that's the idea. These are pits that help capture dew and small sources of water and hold them so that plants can grow.

(Instructions are from: )

  • 1.Start the process in spring, or the dry season if you live in the Sahel. Find an area of flat barren land. You will need hard packed earth with low rainfall, between 400mm and 800mm per year. You will also need a large team of helpers.
  • 2.Working in rows, hack pits into the ground with a shovel-axe, about 30cm wide and 20cm deep.
  • 3.Step forwards over your pits and continue this process until the area is completely covered with pits.
  • 4.Fill the pit with compost. This can be made from rotted cow/sheep dung, leaves, and ashes from wood-fuelled stoves.
  • 5.In each pit put a few seeds of millet or sorghum.
  • 6.If you happen to have a termite mound nearby you are in luck. These guys will help break down your soil and encourage rain infiltration
  • 7.Spread the word! Invite friends and family to see what you have done.

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