From Scotland to Malawi with WaterAid: Local team take inspiring trip to see how water transforms lives

Posted by
Laura Crowley
30 November 2018
Malawi, Our supporters, Partnership
Image: WaterAid/Chipiliro Kansilanga

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Three staff members from People’s Postcode Lottery in Scotland and one from The Netherlands have returned from an eye-opening trip to Malawi to see how players’ support for WaterAid is helping transform lives in some of the world’s poorest communities.

Laura Anderson, 37, Head of HR at the Edinburgh-based lottery organisation, joined colleagues Vicki Robinson and George Bowie in visiting communities and health centres in Machinga District where WaterAid helped bring clean water, decent toilets and hygiene education.

Through the lottery, players have raised a total of £361 million to good causes since its launch in 2005. Since 2013, they have donated £9.25m to WaterAid’s lifesaving work.

One in three people in Malawi does not have access to clean water, while more than half the population has no decent toilet. The situation in healthcare facilities is equally worrisome with more than half lacking decent toilets, and one in five having no clean water.

The trio from People’s Postcode Lottery visited a health centre in Machinga where women previously had to go outside to collect water, wash or relieve themselves after giving birth. 

As part of WaterAid’s Deliver Life programme, which brought clean water, sanitation facilities and hygiene education to 16 health centres and maternity units, the staff and patients now have clean water piped directly into the wards via solar-powered systems. Staff are also reducing the risk of infection through new hygiene practices.
The project also included drilling 12 boreholes to deliver clean water for nearby villages, where women and children previously spent hours each day collecting dirty water. In the past year, the programme has reached 12,544 people with clean water and more than 20,000 with decent toilets. 

Laura Anderson, from Edinburgh, said:

“It was a real privilege to have been able to see the work WaterAid has done. When you’re at home, you’re aware of the fact that water is vital in life, and all the different things you need it for, but take it for granted. It was really eye-opening to see the difference this basic resource has made to an entire community, right through the generations – it really has transformed their lives. 

“My favourite memories are dancing with the community and being welcomed into it, as well as how excited people were to tell us about the water facilities. They’ve got a real sense of ownership and pride of it.”

Vicki Robinson, 31, the lottery’s Business Readiness Manager, said: 

“I think the biggest surprise was that you could have a health centre without clean water. It’s unthinkable that the place people go to get better could lack such basics. It was absolutely fantastic to see the difference clean water and toilets can make. The whole trip was totally inspiring, and we want to share our experiences with others to encourage more support for the cause.” 
In the world’s poorest places, more than one in three hospitals and clinics do not have clean water, and almost one in five do not have decent toilets. WaterAid is working with governments, businesses and local service providers to put clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene at the centre of healthcare.

Elizabeth McKernan, from WaterAid Scotland, led the trip and said: 

“One in nine people around the world don’t have clean water close to home, while a staggering one in three have no decent toilet at home. Without these basic human rights, diseases spread fast - keeping children out of school and adults from earning a living, and claiming hundreds of young lives every single day. WaterAid is working towards a world where everyone everywhere has clean water and decent sanitation.

“When communities get clean water for the first time, it creates a powerful ripple effect, as we witnessed on this trip. This basic resource improves people’s health, education and livelihoods. Players of People’s Postcode Lottery are helping start that chain reaction and we are grateful for their ongoing support.” 


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Notes to Editors:

For more information, please contact:
Laura Crowley, PR manager, [email protected]  or
+44 (0)207 793 4965.
Or call our after-hours press line on +44 (0)7887 521 552 or email pressoffice@wateraid.


WaterAid’s vision is of a world where everyone has access to clean water and sanitation. The international not-for-profit organisation works in 28 countries to change the lives of the poorest and most marginalised people. Since 1981, WaterAid has reached 25.8 million people with clean water and 25.1 million people with decent toilets. For more information, visit, follow @WaterAidUK or @WaterAidPress on Twitter, or visit us on Facebook at

  • 844 million people in the world – one in nine – do not have clean water close to home.[1]

  • 2.3 billion people in the world – almost one in three – do not have a decent toilet of their own.[2]

  • Around 289,000 children under five die every year from diarrhoeal diseases caused by poor water and sanitation. That's more than 800 children a day, or one child every two minutes.[3]

  • Every £1 invested in water and toilets returns an average of £4 in increased productivity.[4]

  • Just £15 can provide one person with clean water.[5]

  • To find out if countries are keeping their promises on water and sanitation, see the online database


[1] WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) Progress on drinking water, sanitation and hygiene: 2017 update and SDG Baselines

[2] WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) Progress on drinking water, sanitation and hygiene: 2017 update and SDG Baselines


[4] World Health organization (2012) Global costs and benefits of drinking-water supply and sanitation interventions to reach the MDG target and universal coverage