WASH in Malawi

If you follow Orant’s media, you might see acronyms like WPC and WASH. But why are they important? What do they mean? Here we break down Malawi’s water lingo and answer other frequently asked questions. 

What is WASH? Water, Sanitation and Hygiene. 

The goal of WASH programming is to protect communities from waterborne illnesses. WASH promotes less open defecation and more access to clean water. 

What are Orant’s WASH initiatives in Malawi?

  • Drilling wells 
  • Training communities in maintenance and water treatment
  • Educating communities on health and sanitation 
  • Building latrines and menstrual hygiene facilities 

What do we mean when we say “access to safe water?” 

  • A household’s round trip to collect water is less than 30 minutes 
  • The water is not contaminated 
  • Each person in a household has access to a minimum of 27 litres of water per day 

What is a WPC? Water Point Committee. 

Each water point has a WPC. WPCs regulate, use, and care for water points. They also collect and manage money to pay for parts and repairs. 

What is a water point? 

A way to access clean water. This can be a borehole, water tower, or stand pipe. 

What is a borehole? 

A deep hole in the ground. A borehole is narrower than a well, but serves the same purpose. We use them to collect water. Orant’s boreholes have handpumps, as shown in the photo. 

What is a standpipe? 

A standpipe is another water point. Like a borehole, it’s used to collect water. But instead of hand pumping, users only have to turn on the faucet. We call standpipes communal taps. 

What makes a latrine “improved”? 

  • The latrine is private 
  • It’s safe from collapse 
  • The pit isn’t full 
  • The floor is waterproof 
  • The roof doesn’t leak
A woman pumps water from an Orant borehole in Matandaza village, Dowa.

What is a sanitation campaign? 

A WASH educational session. These campaigns happen in community spaces or in schools. Orant teaches communities about: 

  • Household water treatment
  • The importance of latrines
  • Hand washing with soap 
  • Prevention of waterborne diseases 

Why is WASH important? 

About 4 million people in Malawi don’t have access to basic water supply services. Almost all children suffer complications from water-borne diseases like diarrhea and cholera. Women and girls must walk far for safe water, then carry it back home. This affects their ability to pursue education and employment. Water is a fundamental need. We want to make it accessible. 

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