Plan Provides Access to Safe Water in Malawi
When families in the Kamtsizi and Mazaza villages of Malawi turn on taps at shared water points, they receive clean water for drinking, cooking, washing, and bathing. This may seem unremarkable, but not too long ago, residents had been consuming contaminated water drawn from unprotected sources such as streams and wetlands.
The change results from the installation of a solar powered water supply system. The system, installed by Plan in 2012, was built to address community water and sanitation issues.
“We suffered from recurrent bouts of diarrhea due to lack of safe water and proper sanitation services, coupled with poor hygiene practices,” says Henderson Mbendera, Secretary for the Kamtsizi-Mazaza Village Health Committee. “Now diarrhea and the risk of contracting other waterborne diseases is past tense," he comments.
“I have pure drinking water, use the latrine, and hand washing has become a habit. Now I can go to school and study without getting sick,” says nine-year-old Vincent Roberts. “In the past, I missed classes often due to frequent stomach aches,” he adds.
The water supply system, installed near several water points, serves the Kamtsizi and Mazaza villages and has been extended to neighboring villages.
“People from neighboring villages come to draw water from this point–especially when they can’t get water from taps in their own communities,” Henderson explains.
Community members and neighboring villagers make small monthly contributions per household. These contributions are used to cover the cost of maintenance. The communities take care of the facilities and have been trained on maintaining the taps when they break down. “We have water and we need to take care of it,” Henderson says.
“Each time we implement a water project in a community, we engage the Ministry of Water to help in supervising the work and in training water users on how to carry out maintenance work,” says Kalua.
Plan intends to expand the system to serve more people within the neighboring villages. The water points serve close to 300 people in the 2 villages combined. However, the facility has the capacity of serving up to 2,200 people per day, which translates to an average of 7 villages.
“We intend to make safe drinking water accessible to more people in the coming years. Our partnership with the Ministry of Water is key in ensuring that we achieve this goal,” says Kalua.