17 million

Malawi is often called ‘the warm heart of Africa’ because of its vibrant feel and welcoming people. Although it’s one of the smallest and least-developed countries in the continent, it’s showing great progress and leadership in clean water.

Since the early 2000s, Malawi’s Government has made clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene for every person a priority. Now two in three people have clean water to drink and less people are going to the toilet in the open.

Local councils need more support to develop resilient services that can deal with the country’s drastic water shortages and the mass movement of people due to climate change.

Decent toilets remain vital to enable people to keep healthy and unlock their potential, but 9.7 million people – more than half the population – are still living without one.

Together, we will reach every last person in Malawi with water, toilets and hygiene. We know that doing so will have a lasting impact, helping poor and marginalised communities escape poverty for good.

To do this, we’re working with government, communities and partner organisations. We share our skills, knowledge and experience to make these basic services a normal part of everyday life.

At the same time, we’re making people aware of their rights, through citizen’s action groups and community-led initiatives, to make sure every voice is heard.

in Malawi don't have clean water.

That's 5.6 million people.

people don't have a decent toilet.

That's more than half of the entire population.

children under 5 die each year from diarrhoea.

Caused by dirty water and poor toilets.

Dalia keeps the water flowing

The men think of me as one of the best mechanics. [After] the training, I realised I could do it.
Dalia Soda, pump mechanic

Dalia Soda is one of only three female pump mechanics in Salima District. Highly respected by co-workers and communities alike, she was already a keen volunteer in the region before she learnt her trade.

“I knew Nzeremu Village before the borehole came,” Dalia explains. “I was encouraging people to contribute something towards it. They were collecting water from the lake.”

After training from WaterAid, Dalia now keeps Nzeremu’s and several other villages’ boreholes working. The job has helped her build her own house and pay for all seven of her children’s school fees.

Looking to the future, Dalia has started taking her 19-year-old son with her on jobs so that he can assist – one day, when she is too old to work, she hopes he can take over.

“I'd be very happy if he wanted to be a pump mechanic. I know it would be of service to a lot of the people in the community.”

Safer futures in Chandaka

Zione was close to finishing school when she contracted cholera - a disease that was common in her village where the water supply was unreliable. Now with a new well close to home, she's hopeful the next generation will have a better chance to finish their education.

Image: WaterAid/Alexia Webster

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