Kazembe Village Well Project – Malawi

This project is a product of the partnership between Water Charity & the National Peace Corps Association.

Kazembe Village, Mulanje District, Malawi.

Community Description

Kazembe is a typical rural Malawian village without running water or electricity, located along a dirt road, a great distance from any paved road or urban area. Kazembe residents fetch water from the Nalada River. Consequently, infant mortality rates are high and, on average, 4 cases of cholera are diagnosed in Kazembe each month. 

Problem Addressed
There is no accessible clean water source for rural residents of Kazembe 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. Women, in particular, are vulnerable in the absence of clean, nearby water sources.  Women fetching water from sometimes distant, unsanitary sources have experienced domestic abuse for taking too long (husbands suspect infidelity), rape (when women venture into remote areas), and death from drowning in flooded rivers during the rainy season.

Project Description
This project entails constructing a borehole in Kazembe 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 other boreholes funded by Water Charity. 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. Above ground, the boreholes will include a standard metal pump mechanism, a cement foundation to protect the pump mechanism, a cement spillway to channel excess water, 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.

Project Impacts
704 people in 179 households will benefit.  Village X will gather data from nearest health clinic to evaluate the impact of the borehole, comparing rates of waterborne illness before and after installation.

Project Administration
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.

This borehole will be located in Mulanje District. In partnership with Village X. Water Charity has already funded borehole projects in Phalombe, Zomba and Chiradzulu Districts.  This will be our 4th project with Mike as part of our Malawi Borehole Program. It also falls under our East Africa Water & Sanitation Program.

NOTE: For the sake of efficiency, given Kazembe’s remote location and proximity to borehole candidate Bakili Village, the Kazembe and Bakili boreholes will be drilled in tandem. The Bakili borehole is a separate project though, with separate payments for each borehole, made after each borehole is completed and tested for water quality and proper operation.

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 well-being 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.

This project has been fully funded by an anonymous donor.  Please consider donating to the Program as a whole, or Water Charity’s project fund, so we can do more projects like this.

This project has been completed.  To see the results, CLICK HERE.