Clean, Safe Water
Because of Malawi’s low rainfall (generally between 700-1,100mm annually*) and poor public infrastructure, many community members have to rely on shallow wells, ponds, streams and the Shire River. The reality of the situation increases the risk of being attacked by dangerous wildlife and contracting waterborne diseases. Moreover, Malawians face an increased risk of vulnerability and limited agricultural productivity during drought years.
HELP reduces the risks of water insecurity by empowering the local community to maintain boreholes, conserve water and utilize important water sanitation methods. Our Community Extension Officers hold informational seminars with community stakeholders including School Management Committees, Parent/Teacher Associations, Faith Leaders, village chiefs and groups of citizens.
Empowering the community is a cost effective, sustainable and fast acting way to supplement expensive infrastructure projects that often take years to implement. It may be decades before the Malawian Government and Aid Organizations build infrastructure throughout the eighteen villages around the Nandumbo Health Centre. Meanwhile, over 3,000 people have already been sensitized to water conservation methods.
Important facts about water security†:
- Malawi is considered a water stressed country with less than 1,700 m3 of freshwater per person. H.E.L.P.’s catchment area is in dry woodlands biome, making it particularly susceptible to water shortage
- Only 2% of Malawians have access to piped water inside their dwelling and 70% of these households are in located in cities, far away from rural areas like H.E.L.P.’s catchment area
- Diarrhea, usually caused by waterborne disease, accounts for 11% of deaths of children under five
*FAO: Grassland and Pasture Crops in Malawi: http://www.fao.org/ag/AGP/AGPC/doc/Counprof/Malawi.htm
† USAID, Malawi: Water and Sanitation Profile: http://pdf.usaid.gov/pdf_docs/PNADO934.pdf