Mwanga Village Well Project – Malawi
This project is made possible through the partnership of WATER CHARITY and the NATIONAL PEACE CORPS ASSOCIATION.
Location and Community Description
Mwanga Village, Phalombe District, Malawi. Located along a rural stretch of newly paved road that connects the towns of Zomba and Phalombe, the commercial center of Mwanga has electricity and three boreholes, two of which are inaccessible to the general population — one at the clinic and one at the Catholic mission. There is one publicly accessible borehole at the primary school, but it produces salty water and goes dry during the dry seasons. Mwanga is a large village and the location for the proposed borehole is a rural area, about 3 kilometers from the existing boreholes just described.
There is no accessible clean water source for rural residents of Mwanga Village. This leads to illness and, in some cases, death, particularly among children under the age of 5. Residents currently fetch water for drinking and cooking from dirty wells or waterways like streams or rivers, especially the Mombezi River.
Women, in particular, are vulnerable in the absence of clean, nearby water sources. In the rural sections of Mwanga, women often ask their husbands to fetch water using their bicycles, from a borehole located several kilometers away, in another village. The men usually resist. Some husbands abandon their wives over the perceived indignity. One husband in Mwanga got so upset with his wife that he tied her naked body to a pole as an act of humiliation (that husband then fled the village to avoid prosecution by local authorities). Under these conditions, wives are left with no choice but to fetch water from nearby, unsanitary sources.
This project entails constructing a borehole in Mwanga Village. The borehole location was chosen by a village project committee, acting on behalf of the entire village. The site is publicly accessible.
Construction will be done by EZ Borehole Drillers, a company located in Blantyre, with substantial experience in the area, including the Mlenga and Likoswe boreholes funded by Water Charity in February 2015 and June 2015, respectively. The installation will take three days to complete. It is expected that water will be reached at about 45 meters, but the wells will be drilled to depths of about 60 meters, if necessary. Before drilling, a hydro-geographical assessment using electrical measurements will be conducted to find the depth of the underlying aquifer. The borehole will be guaranteed for one year by EZ Borehole Drillers. The Mlenga and Likoswe boreholes are functioning well, with no reported breakdowns or complaints.
Above ground, the boreholes will include a standard metal pump mechanism, a cement foundation to protect the pump mechanism, a cement spillway to direct water into a nearby vegetable garden, and a clothes washing station.
Water Charity funds will be used to pay for the skilled labor as well as for the materials that cannot be found locally, such as piping, fixtures and fittings, and concrete. Communities will contribute volunteer labor, materials, including bricks and sand, and about $400 in cash.
Mwanga Village, Phalombe District, Malawi. 112 households; 671 people. There is a heath clinic at the center of Mwanga, and Village X will gather data from that clinic to evaluate the impact of the borehole, comparing rates of waterborne illness before and after installation.
The project will be administered by Michael Buckler, a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer who served in Malawi from 2006 to 2008. He is the founder and CEO of Village X, a social enterprise located in Washington, D.C. dedicated to improving community development work in sub-Saharan Africa. He is a member of the National Peace Corps Association, Friends of Malawi, and Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of Washington, D.C.
Monitoring and Maintenance
EZ Borehole Drillers will conduct 2 days of community-based borehole management training. Trainees will include the village chief and members of two borehole management committees, a technical committee (responsible for upkeep and maintenance) and a sanitation committee (charged with keeping the borehole tidy and planting a vegetable garden that utilizes excess water from the well).
The technical committees will collect a maintenance fee of 100 MK (about 20 cents) per month per household to ensure that there are sufficient funds to adequately maintain the facility and repair it when needed.
This is an important infrastructure project that will improve the health and wellbeing of Mwanga. It is well planned, with strong management and fiscal safeguards in place. It incorporates elements of oversight and buy-in by the residents to make them sustainable into the future.
EZ Borehole Drillers can conduct a survey at the site immediately and install the borehole in early July.
Dollar Amount Needed
$0 – This project has been funded by a major Water Charity donor, who prefers to remain anonymous.
This project has been completed. To read about the conclusion CLICK HERE.