TITUKULANE HANDS OVER 180 BOREHOLES IN MANGOCHI AND ZOMBA
By Ulemu Mbengwani
The Titukulane Program has successfully delivered 180 boreholes in the Mangochi and Zomba districts, granting over 51,000 people access to safe and clean water. The water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) component of the program included the rehabilitation of 150 boreholes—75 in Zomba and 75 in Mangochi. Additionally, 30 new boreholes were constructed, with 15 in Zomba and the remaining 15 in Mangochi, totaling 180.
A handover ceremony took place in Labani village, under Senior Chief Chilipa in the Mangochi district. The ceremony was attended by the Minister of Water and Sanitation, Hon. Abida Sidik Mia MP, who served as the guest of honor. Other distinguished guests included Robert Kampala, the Regional Director of WaterAid; Daniel Abbott, the Chief of Party for Care Malawi; Pamela Kuwali, the Country Director for Care Malawi; and officials from the district council.
Upon arrival, the minister and all the guests were led to the location where community members previously fetched water, showcasing the challenging journey of covering one to two kilometers, often involving a steep climb up a hill while carrying heavy buckets. This intervention has significantly transformed their access to water, marking a life-changing improvement for the community.
Nelia Bernard, an elderly woman from the village, shared the struggles they endured before the life-changing intervention. “Before this intervention, I had never drawn water from a borehole at my age. We used to travel all the way from the village to this spot. However, that was just the beginning; the real struggle awaited us here. There was never enough water, leading to fights and breaking buckets in the process. Even if we managed to collect water, deciding whether to drink it was always a dilemma. Upon getting home, we would sit down and contemplate whether we should really drink it. The water was visibly contaminated with dirt and numerous particles. But since we had no control over our thirst, we were forced to consume it”.
After inspecting the water source, the guests were then led to the newly constructed Labani village borehole before proceeding to the community ground where the Minister and the distinguished guests addressed the gathering.
In her remarks, Hon. Abida Mia expressed her appreciation for the high quality and durability of the boreholes, emphasizing their ability to withstand harsh climatic conditions, including cyclones, as they were constructed last year before Cyclone Freddy. Another noteworthy aspect of this initiative is the community training program, which equips members with the skills to develop and maintain vegetable gardens, providing a sustainable source of funds for borehole maintenance, she said.
“The members have highlighted that they have managed to generate K116,000, which is currently in their savings. They have already bought rods and other spare parts so that they can promptly replace them whenever the need arises. 'That's very impressive, and other communities across the country should emulate this so that they do not spend three or four months without water due to borehole breakdown, added Mia.
The event also featured exhibitions from various initiatives being implemented under the Titukulane program, namely, nutrition, sanitation, and climate change adaptation, among others. The exhibitions also included a pavilion by Evidence Action, an organization that assists communities in accessing chlorine for water treatment, which is critical in ensuring the safety of drinking water.
The Regional Director for WaterAid, Robert Kampala, expressed satisfaction with the quality and durability of the boreholes. However, he highlighted that more work needs to be done. Out of the 21 million people in Malawi, 2.1 million still lack access to clean and safe water. Kampala stressed the collective responsibility involving the government, district councils, community leaders, and everyone to ensure that all Malawians have access to clean and safe water.
He emphasized the need to ensure that nobody walks more than 30 minutes to access water, as this becomes a burden on women and children, who are often responsible for this laborious task. He further urged the community members to preserve the facilities, ensuring their longevity and preventing future generations from undergoing the same water-related challenges.
Titukulane is a five-year Resilience Food Assistance Activity (RFSA) funded by USAID through the Bureau of Humanitarian Assistance (BHA). Care is leading its implementation in a consortium comprising Emmanuel International (EI), International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), National Smallholder Farmers Association of Malawi (NASFAM), Save the Children, and WaterAid.