The Challenge of Accessing Clean Water in Rural Malawi

Access to water is a life-altering issue in Malawi

Challenge of Accessing Clean Water in Rural Malawi
Most boreholes must be drilled down 40 meters or more.

Catherine Ngoma shares her story

Every time she goes to Bua river, she is reminded of that fateful day when her cousin was caught by a crocodile. Catherine Ngoma tells about the challenge of accessing clean water in rural Malawi.

“Memories keep coming to my mind whenever I go to draw water from Bua river and most of the time I am scared. I have lost three of my relatives who were caught by crocodiles while trying to draw water from the river,” Catherine Ngoma says.

The challenge of accessing clean water in rural Malawi

Access to water remains a great challenge to most rural areas in Malawi. Without access to wells or boreholes, most people resort to drinking water from the nearest rivers which puts them at risk of waterborne diseases and at risk of being attacked by crocodiles. 

For a long time this has been the case for people from Chika Village whose only source of water was Bua river, which is 25 minutes away from the village.

“It takes 25 minutes for us to get to the river and another 25 minutes to get back. Our nearest borehole is an hour away and sometimes we are not allowed to draw water from there, ” explains Catherine.

And as it is in many cases, women have been the most affected by this water problem that has been in Chika Village for so long.  The situation is even worse for elderly women as it is hard for them to walk such long distances carrying a bucket of water on their head. This is why Orant’s Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) program has drilled a well to lift this burden off the women’s shoulders. You can read more about how water access is an issue of gender here.

“Women have been the most affected. Of my 3 relatives that were caught by crocodiles at Bua River, two of them were women, as it is primarily women and girls who go out to fetch for water,” says Catherine.

The Challenge of Accessing Clean Water in Rural Malawi
Workers drill through several layers of earth to reach clean water.

How can boreholes help rural villages?

Since women will not be required to walk long distances fetching water, the time they used to spend on walking will be invested in other productive activities which will be beneficial for their households’ livelihoods.

“The borehole has brought a sense of security. Women used to live in fear of being caught by crocodiles whenever they went to fetch water. With this borehole, all such fears are gone. We are so thankful for this wonderful gift from Orant because Madzi ndi Moyo (Water is life),” says Flare Mbewe.

How can you help with the challenge of accessing clean water in rural Malawi?

Chika is just one of the many villages Orant has drilled a well for through donations from our generous donors. Thanks to our donors for your unwavering support!

Drilling a borehole in Malawi costs approximately $5,000 USD. Would you like to learn more about how to donate towards the cost of a borehole? Contact Erin Hearn.

The Orant Journal