Malawi: latest news

A round-up of WaterAid's recent activities and achievements in Malawi.

14 May 2013

Young Malawi girl washing hands

Most of Malawi's 15 million people live in rural areas where water-related diseases and HIV/AIDS are widespread. 

WaterAid is working with local partners including the National Initiative for Civic Education, Work for Rural Health and the WES Network to improve access to clean water and proper sanitation.

Malawi is one of four countries benefiting from SHARE funding – a five year initiative (2010-2015) funded by the UK Department for International Development. WaterAid is one of the partner organisations helping to deliver SHARE funded services.

Here are just some of the things that WaterAid Malawi has achieved with our partners this year:

Sanitation successA new latrine in Karonga district, Malawi

Communities in Rumphi and Karonga, which border Lake Malawi, have transformed sanitation in their districts. Construction of latrines in the area is difficult due to sandy soils that lead to them collapse easily.

Under the Citizen Action Initiative, communities have been weaving baskets that are supported by poles, which are then inserted into toilet holes. These have helped to make the toilets much stronger and latrines more stable.

Citizen engagement around the issues of water and sanitation has had real impact in Malawi. Local chiefs have established bylaws that have led to over 20,000 people now having improved latrines in the districts.

Malawi presents ‘Everyone, Everywhere’ report to Water MinisterMercy Masoo of WaterAid presents ‘Everyone, Everywhere’ to Water Development Minister Ritchie Muheya

On World Water Day, 22 March 2013, WaterAid's Malawi Country Representative, Mercy Masoo, presented the ‘Everyone, Everywhere’ report to Water Development Minister, Ritchie Muheya. Mercy pledged WaterAid’s support in ensuring access for all Malawians by 2030.

She said, "As a country we have made strides in provision of safe water but sanitation significantly lags behind. Beyond 2015 there is need to address issues of sustainability and inclusion."

Mercy Masoo made the presentation when the Minister visited a WaterAid pavilion during an open day in Mchinji District in commemoration of World Water Day.

WaterAid in Malawi hosts three winning engineers  James Davies, Philippa Garnett and Will Musgrove present their design to WaterAid Malawi staff

In March 2013 three winners of the Society of Public Health Engineers (SoPHE) 2012 Young Engineers competition in the UK visited Malawi.

James Davies, Philippa Garnett and Will Musgrove won the competition with their design of a standalone token-operated water kiosk for small towns and low income urban areas. Most people in these communities cannot afford an individual household connection. 

The engineers' design provides 24 hour access to water which is currently not the case with the kiosk systems as they close after 6 pm.

Concerns were raised to the visitors including loss of jobs (raised by current kiosk attendants) water security and community ownership. More positively, it was noted that the new kiosk will help in maintaining water price uniformity.The engineers returned to the UK promising to improve the design to address its shortcomings.

EU journalists visit urban projects in Malawi EU journalists visit Malawi

In March 2013 four journalists from the Guardian Newspaper in the UK, France24 Television and a Belgian Newspaper toured development projects being supported with funding from the European Union.

They visited the Lilongwe Water Board where rehabilitation on water pumps is currently taking place as part of the €30 million Malawi Peri Urban water supply and sanitation project. They also went to Mgona, a low income area in the Lilongwe, where they met communities who have access to water and sanitation thanks to the European Union funding. The journalists said they were impressed with the developments taking place in the communities.

The four year project is aimed at bringing safe water to 723,000 people in low income areas in Lilongwe and Blantyre and 468,000 people will have access to basic sanitation with 29,000 gaining access to latrines.

WaterAid Malawi gets involved in post-2015 debate Girls visiting a water kiosk funded by the EU & Malawi government

WaterAid Malawi is among the organisations that submitted their position on the post-2015 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) agenda, calling for universal access to water and sanitation.

The consultations, which were being championed by the Former vice President of Malawi Dr Justin Malewezi, were conducted in ten districts in the country.

Speaking at a validation workshop of the findings, Dr Malewezi called on Malawians to cherish the opportunity by ensuring that they make their voice heard and contributing towards the next global development agenda framework.

Of interest at the meeting was the level of interest shown by local chiefs, who clearly linked water and sanitation to education, especially education for girls. The final report will be made available by the Ministry of Economic planning and development.

All in all, it’s been a busy and productive start to the year for WaterAid Malawi!