Take the Munro Challenge for people like Khisse in Malawi

4 min read
Image: WaterAid/ Dennis Lupenga

The Scotland Munro Challenge, is a major fundraising event to get teams to the top of as many Munros as possible. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the event is postponed and we hope we can re-organise for the near future. If you have registered for the challenge we'll be in touch via email when we have an update.

The event will raise money to help to bring clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene to remote communities like Nampeya Village in Malawi.

If you needed to get to hospital, what would you do? Ask family for a lift, take the bus or, in an emergency call an ambulance? The choices are many.  For people like Khisse from Nampeya Village in Malawi, there is only one option: to walk 26 miles - the distance of a marathon. 

Khisse is 51 years old. She set off by foot at four o’clock in the morning with with her pregnant niece and arrived at Chikwewo Health Centre at 11am. 

Guardian Khisse Luka, 51, from Nampeya Village, and her niece, sit in the kitchen area at Chikwewo Health Centre, Chikwewo, Machinga, Malawi. September 2019. There is no electricty in this shelter and the next room where the expectant mothers and guar ...
Khisse and her niece in Chikwewo Health Centre, which has no water, electricity and derelict toilets with no doors.
Image: WaterAid/ Lis Parham

There is no electricity or running water in this Health Centre and there is no access to decent toilets. It's almost impossible to stay clean and hygienic. 

There is no adequate space to accommodate Khisse and her niece, who is eight months pregnant, so they are forced to sleep on the floor.

“I feel worried all the time”, says Khisse. “I worry that the baby or my niece could get sick or I, myself, as a guardian could end up getting ill from an infection that we get at the hospital because of the conditions.

“Several of us have gotten sick. Many of us have had diarrhoea while we’re here and we’ve had to go to that same hospital to get medication”.

Without clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene disease spreads fast. Yet across the globe, more than one in three hospitals and clinics do not have clean water, and almost one in five do not have decent toilets.

Living with dignity

A community member at Chikweo rinses a bucket that she will use to collect water. The handpump which is located in the market area. This borehole is a ten-minute walk from Chikweo Health Centre. Patients and their guardians have to walk here to get wa ...
Image: WaterAid/ Dennis Lupenga

“If there was water, it would bring a great deal of dignity to the women who come to this facility” says Khisse.

“It would also do a great deal for the women who are guardians at the hospital because currently we are ridiculed in the community – people make fun of us.

“If you see how we have to walk out – we haven’t bathed, we haven’t brushed our teeth, we haven’t done anything, but we have to get up and go fetch water in the market centre.

Chinsisi (meaning ‘secret’)

“Despite the fact that we are going through these troubles, we have thought about a name for the baby and we are going to call her ‘Chinsisi’. It means ‘secret’.

“My niece is doing all right”, added Khisse. “She’s not her best condition, but she’s doing OK."

Safely bringing new life into the world

Good hygiene should be a normal part of everyone’s life. For too many people it isn’t. This year, thanks to support from the Scottish Government, Scottish Water and other partners, we are bringing clean water and decent toilets to Chikwewo Health Centre.

On his first visit to Malawi, Scottish Water’s Head of Communications Andrew Walker met with Khisse and her niece. He listened to her hopes and fears of welcoming her niece’s new arrival into the world. And learnt about her experience of staying in the hospital with no clean running water.

"Meeting Khissie and her niece and hearing first-hand of their experience impacted me deeply,” said Andrew. “Having access to clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene is a basic of human life, no more so than in this setting where new babies are being delivered.”

Together, we can make a lasting difference, and help change the lives of women like Khisse and her niece, so that many more expectant mothers can safely bring new life into the world.

The Scotland Munro Challenge takes place in the beautiful Scottish mountains, to raise money and bring clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene to people like Khisse and communities in Malawi.

The event is currently postposed and we hope we can re-organise for the near future. If you have registered for the challenge we'll be in touch via email when we have an update.