Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH)
This two year Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) program focuses on increasing access to water, sanitation and hygiene services, while building the capacity to manage WASH interventions at the local level. The program directly benefits 336,740 community members and 10,200 primary school students in three Districts of Malawi.
Why this project is important
Water and sanitation-related diseases, such as diarrhea and malaria, remain the leading cause of death among children under age five. This is primarily due to a high proportion of non-functioning water supply facilities, poor access to sanitation and low adoption rates of positive hygiene practices. Despite significant investments in Malawi’s water supply sector, access to safe drinking water remains a challenge.
Only 54 per cent of people living in Malawi’s Kasungu District have access to safe drinking water. Meanwhile, in the Mangochi District, 73 per cent of the population has access to safe drinking water, however, 30 per cent of the population lives without sanitation facilities and practises open defecation. The Nkhata Bay district falls well below the national standard in terms of the number of water points per person and only 18 per cent of the district’s population uses improved sanitation facilities.
Of the 5,000 primary schools in Malawi, less than a quarter meet the national standard of one latrine per 60 students and only 4 per cent of schools have hand washing facilities. Considering nearly 25 per cent of the Malawian population is school aged, these statistics are particularly alarming.
Program strategies and objectives
The overall goal of this program is to achieve a 30 per cent reduction in water and sanitation-related illnesses in the targeted Districts through the following activities:
- Increasing access to safe water - Forty-six new water points will be constructed. These will include drilled wells, protected rope pump wells, gravity-fed systems (i.e. using pipes to transport water to tap stands) and rainwater harvesting.
- Improving sanitation - A Community-Led Total Sanitation approach will support 130,000 people in 200 villages to eliminate open defecation by ensuring that every household has a latrine and hand washing facilities.
- Improving hygiene behaviour – Introducing three key hygiene practices to reduce diarrheal diseases: hand washing with soap at critical moments, safe disposal of feces, and safe treatment and storage of drinking water at the household level. Each practice typically results in a 30-40 per cent reduction in diarrhea prevalence.
- School Water, Sanitation and Hygiene - At 17 primary schools, a safe water point will be established, gender-segregated latrine units will be installed and hand washing facilities provided, benefiting 10,200 children.
- Health centre sanitation and hygiene - Working closely with the District Health Officer and the District Council, CPAR will install ventilated improved pit latrines and hand washing tap-buckets at six health centres, facilitating access to improved sanitation facilities for 24,000 new users.
- Training and mobilizing water and sanitation (WASH) committees –WASH committees will be trained to manage the operation and maintenance of water systems and to facilitate community-based education campaigns about the link between poor sanitation and the spread of water-related illnesses.