After decades of long journeys to fetch water from unsafe sources, people in Chiradzulu district can now afford a great sigh of relief as they now have access to clean and safe water through mechanized water systems.
In 2022, World Vision Malawi in partnership with Water for People, commenced a three-year WASH for Everyone Project which seeks to expand access to drinking water, sanitation, and hygiene services across the entire district of Chiradzulu.
One year down the line, the $10 million (K17 billion) project has already proved its significance to the district as in some communities people are already enjoying clean and very safe water from the solar-powered water systems, boreholes and wells with hand pumps which have been spread across the entire district.
According to Panganani Njolomole who is WASH for Everyone Project Manager, the progress of the entire project is very satisfying and says it is pleasing that just a year after its commencement, the outcomes are promising evidenced by happy faces from people in beneficiary communities who are now at a throw-stone distance away from safe water sources.
“The project has made remarkable progress in enhancing water, sanitation, and hygiene. So far, it has built over 125 new boreholes, restored 89 non-functional boreholes across seven T/As, and established 12 solar-powered water systems with 302 taps, benefiting 48,743 people. Additionally, the project contributed to T/A Likoswe’s achieving of open defecation-free status, including two other T/As, thus Mpama and Onga.
“Presently, latrine coverage stands at an average of 91% in the four T/As, thus Chitera, Ntchema, Sandaraki, and Kadewere as of early December 2023. This increased access to clean water and sanitation and this is so commendable because it is fostering healthier communities. I’m thrilled to witness positive changes addressing fundamental needs in the T/A, and our goal is to reach everyone in Chiradzulu district by the end of 2024,” said Njolomole.
A visit to some of the beneficiary villages in the district, revealed how people are excited to cut short their long journeys in search for water which was not even clean and safe.
For instance, Village Head Kunchema in the area of Traditional Authority Mpama, never missed words to express her excitement for the gift of life (water) following a solar-powered water system which has been installed in her area, thereby bringing safe and clean water to households’ proximity.
“On behalf of people of Chiradzulu district, I would like to thank World Vision Malawi and Water For People for the wonderful Christmas gift they have given us. They have given us water and water is life. I can’t express the joy that has come because of this supply of clean water. My subjects were suffering,” said Group village head Kunchema.
On the other hand, installation works of another mechanized water system which will supply water to two villages in TA Mpama and three villages in TA Onga areas, is underway at Chikankheni Village which separates the two Traditional Authorities and it will be under St Michaels scheme.
According to the Project Manager Njolomole, the system will have a 40,000 litre tank which will supply water to the five villages through 62 water taps and said the contractor has up to January to have people from the areas including St Michaels school start enjoying their right to safe and clean water and at their convenient places.
Talking about the area’s experience in terms of water challenges, St Michaels scheme chairlady, Joyce Mtiwa said people in the area have been struggling a lot when it comes to accessing clean and safe water, claiming for decades they have been drinking from the same untreated water sources with their livestock.
“Water challenge is so dire here. We have one reliable untreated well where our five villages gather to fetch water for both household chores and drinking, which has been exposing us to diseases. Apart from that, we had sanitation challenges at St Michaels school.
“However, we now have hope that all shall be well with the coming of WASH for all Project which is being implemented by World Vision Malawi and Water for People organizations. We are so thankful to these two organizations, they have really came to our rescue,” explained Mtiwa.
Mtiwa further disclosed that they are now planning to set sub committees whose purpose shall be protecting and taking care of the solar-powered water system and all the water points including facilitating some repairs works for the facility.
Apart from that, the chairperson said they will make sure that funds are always available for maintenance works of the water system in the five villages and the sub committees will also be entitled to collecting a monthly contribution of K500 per household. They will also be involved in income generating activities which include some vegetable gardens at each and every water point.
The United Nations goal on WASH is to ensure availability of water to all, improve water quality by reducing pollution, eliminating dumping and minimizing release of hazardous chemicals and materials, halving the proportion of untreated wastewater and substantially increasing recycling and safe reuse globally by 2030.