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.
"We like to stimulate solutions from their grass roots," Heaps said. "We like them to come from them."
In the past few years, Heaps said, the church has assisted in the creation of 246 wells throughout the country.
Clean water projects throughout the world are a major aim of the church's humanitarian program, according to information released by the church's public affairs department, as thousands are served by the projects regardless of their religious backgrounds.
Heaps said since 2007, small, rural villages in Sierra Leone have been a focus for the church.
They have received not only clean water but a number of specially designed wheelchairs for disabled residents as well, stated a spokesman for the church.
It's hard to believe there are 222 people per square mile in Sierra Leone, Heaps said, because so many people live in small villages in the jungles, where they are hard to see except from the air.
In a project that started in 2009 and extended into 2010, the church assisted with the creation of 100 wells in as many villages that now serve 50,000 people.
While the church provides the cement mix for the well projects, the individual villages must provide their own sand, which is plentiful in the area, and their own small rocks, which requires a great deal of effort as volunteers tediously break larger stones into small ones for the cement.
"All day long they have a man with a hammer and a chisel and he just breaks rocks up all day," Heaps said.
"The community feels a greater sense of ownership as they participate with the church," he said. "They have sand. They have gravel."
And Heaps said that sense of ownership is the one element that will keep the wells functioning years after the church has helped to put them in.
"After we leave, after the system is built, we don't go back, and we don't provide maintenance. It's theirs. We want them to have ownership so they'll take care of it. We organize them into a water committee. They start managing themselves."
And that's where the goats come in.
Village water committees charge everyone in the village a nominal fee so they'll have money in the future for maintenance, Heaps said.
When the villagers take over their wells, it's not the first time they become involved in the project.
Besides two-thirds of the materials needed for the projects, they also provide a majority of the labor.
In keeping with church policies to leverage natural resources in any area served by humanitarian projects, Heaps said, in Sierra Leone, projects have focused on hand-dug wells, because that's what seems to work best there, as workers can tap into clean, underground aquifers.
"It's neat, because they have provided all the unskilled labor," Heaps said. "We'll hire a contractor and then the contractor has a skilled laborer who actually digs the hole."
He said the digging is technical, as the hole 13 feet down and 6 feet in diameter must be scooped out in such a way that it does not collapse.
"(The digger) needs to know what they are doing," Heaps said.
That digger fills up a bucket as he scoops by hand; then a group of volunteers pulls the bucket up by a rope. This goes on throughout the day.
"They do it just one little bucket at a time," Heaps said, describing the bucket as one that might hold a gallon and a half of water.
"They work so hard," he said, noting that the rewards are endless as villagers learn about sanitation, hygiene and hand-washing from church volunteers at the same time their wells are installed.
The incidence of diseases such as diarrhea, typhus and cholera has been dramatically reduced through these projects, according to church public affairs information.
"When we were there, we talked to a couple of moms who had lost children to cholera," Heaps said, "so they were so grateful to finally be getting access to clean water."