Siyabu Village Water Project – Malawi

This project is made possible through the partnership of Water Charity and the National Peace Corps Association.

Siyabu Village, Zomba District, Malawi

Community Description
Siyabu is a typical rural Malawian village without running water or electricity, located along a dirt road, about a two-hour walk from the city of Zomba.

Problem Addressed
There is no accessible clean water source for rural residents of Siyabu Village. This leads to illness and, in some cases, death, particularly among children under the age of 5. Most 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. In our partner villages, women fetching water from sometimes distant, unsanitary sources have experienced domestic abuse for taking too long and husbands suspect infidelity or rape when women venture into remote areas, and death from drowning in flooded rivers during the rainy season.

Linesi Masala, a mother of two and resident of Siyabu, was abused by her husband for taking too long to retrieve water from a shallow well, where wait times were very long. He accused her of using that time to sleep with other men. Her husband subsequently died of dysentery. Approximately five couples in Siyabu have divorced over this issue.

Project Description
This project entails constructing a borehole in Siyabu Village. A village project committee, acting on behalf of the entire village, chose the borehole location. The site is publicly accessible.

EZ Borehole Drillers, a company located in Blantyre, with substantial experience in the area, including other boreholes funded by Water Charity, will do the construction. The installation will take about 2 weeks to complete. It is expected that water will be reached at about 45 meters, but the well 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. EZ Borehole Drillers will guarantee the borehole for one year.

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 Impact
There are 104 households, or 512 people, who will directly benefit from the project.  Village X will gather data from the nearest health clinic to evaluate the impact of the borehole, comparing rates of waterborne illness before and after installation.

Returned Peace Corps Volunteer Directing Project
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. 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 Siyabu. 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 it sustainable into the future.

This project is part of our ongoing Malawi Borehole Program, in concert with Michael Buckler and Village X.

This project has been funded by an anonymous donor.
If you like this project, and want to help with future projects of this type, please Donate for the East Africa Water and Sanitation Program.

This project has been COMPLETED.  To view the results, CLICK HERE.