people in Malawi don't have access to safe water.

Over 14.3 million people don't have access to adequate sanitation in Malawi.

Over 3,500 children die every year from diarrhoea caused by unsafe water and poor sanitation in Malawi.

Malawi is known as the warm heart of Africa. Despite signs of economic development many challenges remain – in rural areas as few as two in ten people have access to a toilet.

The crisis

Although official figures show Malawi to have 85% water supply coverage, the number of people with reliable access is far lower. Many handpumps are broken, leaving no choice but to go back to unsafe water sources.

Many people in Malawi live in rural areas where extreme weather, rapid population growth and pollution have made farming difficult. A reliable safe water supply is essential to grow enough food to eat.

HIV/AIDS is widespread, leaving children orphaned and having to collect water for themselves and relatives. Safe water is especially important for people with HIV/AIDS but they are often excluded from using facilities.

Our approach

In Malawi, WaterAid is working with local partners to map the water points in each district and note their condition. This is essential to get a clear picture of where the need is greatest.

We then support communities to repair broken wells and handpumps and train them to maintain their own facilities in the long term. This will mean that safe water is available close to home all year round.

To ensure communities get the most benefit from safe water, we support them to improve hygiene practices and build toilets. Simple composting latrines help keep water sources clean and provide fertiliser for crops.

In Malawi last year we reached:

  • 27,000 people with safe water
  • 101,000 people with improved sanitation.

Watch this short film to find out more:

A group of children drink from a hand pump.