LDS Church helps bring clean water to Sierra Leone

In a small village known as Madina, in Sierra Leone, everyone is a little bit kinder to a certain she-goat.

If they see that she's hungry or needs help, any one of the villagers will jump to her service.

That's because she's owned by all of them -- she represents the village's investment in its well.

This extremely rural community, a five-hour drive from Freetown, the capital of this west African country, has no banks nearby.

That's why villagers have invested each of their well fees in a female goat. Next spring, when she has a kid, their investment will pay a dividend.

"It's just an ingenious solution," said Matt Heaps, clean water initiative manager for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which is the instigator behind hundreds of well projects throughout Sierra Leone. "(Villagers) came up with this idea to take care of the water system."

Heaps is not sure which village came up with the idea. It's that way in hundreds of villages across the Sierra Leone landscape in which the LDS Church 's humanitarian arm has stepped in to support creation of wells to supply the villages with a clean, healthy water supply.

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