Wonderful News! We have a matching donation!

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We are so grateful to have a donor who has stepped forward and offered to match every donation made to the Malawi Water Project before December 31st, to a maximum of $10,000.
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If you haven’t already done so, then don’t miss the opportunity to donate soon so that your donation can be doubled! That’s right doubled!

This donation could not have come at a better time as we have joined a WASH(Water Sanitation and Hygiene) cluster of non-government and government officials working toward eliminating potentially deadly cholera in targeted villages. There have been 784 cases of cholera with 27 deaths in Malawi in 2018.  Unfortunately, this disease seems to strike at the hottest time of the year leaving patients with high fevers, uncontrollable diarrhea and dehydration in a tent separated from the general hospital population, with no air conditioning in 45 degree weather.

We would really like to arm as many communities as possible over the next year with knowledge about proper sanitation and hygiene and provide them with Biosand Water Filters so they have access to clean water.

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Your kind donation will be put to good use and provide significant benefits. I’m continually reminded how fortunate we are to have clean drinking water just by turning on our tap. Our goal is to bring clean water and teach proper sanitation and hygiene to as many people living in remote areas of Malawi as possible. Together, we can help villagers protect themselves from devastating water borne diseases.

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All donations will be matched up to a total of $10,000 until the end of the year! So please join us this Holiday Season and act now to help ensure more families can stay happy and healthy.

Fun at the Music for Malawi Concert

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Current News November 2018

Another fun and successful event for the Malawi Water Project occurred on November 3rd, 2018. With great music coordinated by our musical director Louise Forsyth, we enjoyed an evening filled with a variety of musical entertainment.

 

 

The Spirit Singers entertained us with a variety of uplifting songs and several soloists in the group performed passionate selections.

 

 

Our musical performers included renowned Calgary folk singer Barry Luft and a new a cappella group on the Calgary music scene known as Conchord.

 

 

The food, wine and silent auction provided a fun time during intermission. Thank you to  Darlene Kemp and Bernadette O’Connor for their work on the silent auction. The food and hall arrangement done by Nancy Swerhun, Andrea Collins and Teana Pickles couldn’t have been better.

 

 

The wine and beverages were well tended by Onyema, Tito and Craig.

 

 

Our volunteers did a fantastic job explaining the functioning of the biosand water filter and taking donations from all of our faithful supporters.

 

 

Gerry Simon kept things moving as our Master of Ceremonies and Sarah Falconer who has been our country manager in Malawi for the past two and a half years provided us with an explanation of the hardships and joys of living in a rural village in Malawi.

 

 

Photos are courtesy of Richard Betts photography. Check out his amazing work at https://rcbetts.zenfolio.com/ 

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From our management team in Canada

Thank you to all of the performers, volunteers and donors who supported this event.  The support means such a great deal to the families who benefit from clean water which reduces illness and improves productivity and enjoyment of life for thousands of villagers living in rural Malawi.

 

You Are Invited !

Music for Malawi Concert

Sneak preview of  fantastic silent auction items here

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Picture of Microphone

What do Music, Wine and Water Have in Common?

They are all happening at
Music For Malawi

 A concert in support of clean water 

Music staff

Join us in supporting the work being done in Malawi by coming out to see “Musical Friends of the Malawi Water Project”  perform a variety of music for you to enjoy. Our artists include folk singer Barry Luft, A capella group Conchord and other noteworthy performers. 

Enjoy listening to live music, have a glass of wine or other beverage, cheese and desserts and bid on fantastic silent auction items. Go to Sneak Preview above to view some of these auction items.

Adults:         $30 Saturday Deer Park United Church
Under 13:    Free November 3, 2018 77 Deer Point Rd. SE.
6:00 pm – 9:00 pm Calgary, AB

> BUY TICKETS NOW <

Our goal is to improve health and alleviate suffering by teaching villagers in Malawi about sanitation and hygiene, providing them with biosand water filters and training them on filter building and use.

filter

Bring your family and friends for an inspiring, enlightening and fun evening to help support this project.

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“Providing Clean Water, Saving Lives”

May 2018 Trip to Malawi

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An update from our Board Chair’s visit to Malawi – May 2018

We arrived in Lilongwe, (Capital) Sunday afternoon May 6th to start our journey in Malawi. This time I was accompanied by Jerry, my husband who had not been to Malawi before.  We stayed at a new guest house just outside of Lilongwe so we had a good rest. We drove to Mzuzu in the North where we stayed for the first week. The weather in Mzuzu was great, it was not too hot. We stayed at the Anglican Diocese Guest house. Sarah, who has been working with the Malawi Water Project and has been in Malawi for the past 2 years, has made connections with a number of girls who live around the Diocese Guest House. They helped us prepare the gift packages for the volunteers and staff.

Sarah with girls

The Guest House staff cooked lunch for the entire MWP team and we took it out to the location of our factory.

We ate lunch with the team and volunteers and as a “thank you”, we presented the prepared gift packages from Canada including T-shirts, hats, small bags of toiletries and water bottles. We also gave prepared envelops with a donation for each volunteer to thank them for the work they are doing in helping to wash the sand and gravel for filter installation.

Lunch with North Team

Following the lunch, we met with the team members. Since we are delivering filters and working with communities such as Kabwafu, which is a 2 hour drive away from the factory, we have decided to support two volunteers, Margret and Martha, in the community rather than hiring a Community Health Promoter near the factory. These two individuals will be following up on the filters and encouraging villagers to implement proper sanitation and hygiene practices.

When we arrived in Kabwafu, we met with the community members including the Traditional Authority which is the head community leader for several villages. Also present were the members of the  Health Committee that has been in existence for several years. The TA and chief spoke as well as a representative of the Health Committee. We are encouraging the villages to take responsibility for their own health so I emphasized how important it is for us to work together as a team to get their villages to Healthy Village status.

We then went to view some of the homes that had filters and looked at the water sources they are using for drinking. They use holes in the ground that animals also drink from and that had large insects and debris floating in the water. They also use a pond that is used by animals so they are definitely in need of the filters. They do have two boreholes but they are far away. The beneficiaries are very happy with their filters. One woman uses it for everything including cooking, bathing and washing clothes. She is finding that the water is less salty and the white residue that is left on clothes or on her skin is removed from the water.

Water source at Kabwafu

Water Source Kabwafu 2

Village at Kabwafu

The following day we went to the Mpherembe community which is a community about 15 minutes from Kabwafu and met with the members of their Health Committee who told us about their challenges which included the need for supplies at the clinic and more staff.

 

We toured the clinic and found many people waiting in line to see the Health Services Assistant. (HSA).

Clinic Kabwafu    Picture1

The Health Services Assistant was a young girl who had been working there for two months. She looked exhausted. She told us that she was working 7 days a week. She probably graduated a few  months ago and got a job at the clinic. She has no support and very few supplies.

Nurse at Clinic

The following morning, we got up early to head to another community on Lake Malawi. It is called Kawanga and the villagers have to use lake water to drink as there isn’t a road to the village to allow the borehole drilling equipment to come into the village. The equipment is too heavy to get there by boat.

We have delivered and installed 5 filters in this village as a pilot, so we went to all 5 houses that had filters and conducted follow-up visits.

Kawanga village

The community members gathered to thank us for our help.

We are working with other NGO’s in the area. One is Luke International from Taiwan. Diane, a  spokesperson for this organization has committed to donating funds to construct and deliver 30 filters. Cindee Rood who has founded a USA organization called Formidable Joy has committed to donate funds to provide 10 filters. Cindee will be coming to visit this village in July.

There is a community in Kawanga that has had two cases of cholera this year. It is not far from the community that we are working in so we are going to deliver some filters there, however, the Chief and Diane are going to try to get the villagers to improve the health and safety of the village before the filters get there.

We left the North Project and headed south to Chikwawa where our factory is located. We arrived in Chikwawa to 32 degree heat, however, we were fortunate to have electricity most of the time at Vasco Lodge where we stayed. Since  the lodge has installed solar power which kicks in when the electricity is not working. We even had a ceiling fan that was operational most nights.

We made a trip to the city of Blantyre to view the sand sorting/washing machine.  Everything is ready for installation except the screens. We are waiting for them from Zambia. This machine will provide more consistency in washing the sand and gravel and will allow more filters to be constructed in a day.

Sand sorting machine

Evance is a new volunteer who has joined the Project at the factory in order to gain experience. He has graduated from Journalism and needs to have experience in order to apply for a job in his field. He is working on graphics & helping the team with their WASH (Water Sanitation and Hygiene) presentations. He designed the T-shirts that we gave to the volunteers and the golf shirts that we gave to the team.

T-shirts

Team

Here are the team members and volunteers in their new shirts.

Safety sign

 

Evance also created signs in Chichewa giving safety instructions  that must be followed when constructing the biosand filters.

During our time with the South team we watched how the team members conducted a WASH (Water Sanitation and Hygiene) presentation in a village.

The team plus all 9 volunteers attended the WASH meeting. The volunteers put on a skit about how the filter prevents illness then the team presented on the requirements of a healthy village. There were several questions about how the filter worked which was good to hear because it means the villagers are interested in the filter. The team members use large printed laminated picture posters to show villagers how the filter works and how to maintain them.

WASH meeting Derlinie

Derlinie opened the presentation by telling the villagers about the Malawi Water Project. The Chief is the woman to the right holding the little girl.

The audience consisted mainly of women and children. This village is close to the Illovo Sugar Plantation and the majority of men work there and had not returned from work yet. We were impressed at the amount of interest in the filter which was demonstrated by the number of questions asked.

The following day we met with the team and they each gave a presentation introducing themselves and telling us what their goals were for the Project in the next 5 years. We listened to their presentations and discussed some of the issues that the team is experiencing.

Sarah, Helen, Derlinie

They would all like to reach more villages. They would like a large lorry to deliver filters and media, take the team and volunteers to WASH meetings and get the quarry and river sand. Transportation seems to be an issue in both regions.

The team and volunteers get along well together and are like a family. They work together to make lunch for everyone on the days that they are working together at the factory.

Making lunch

To get an idea as to how the filters are performing and to receive feedback from the beneficiaries of the filters, we went to conduct 5 follow-up visits in Chimpazi village. This community is across a shallow river which we were able to cross with the vehicle. However, in the rainy season it can’t be crossed and the nearest bridge is many kilometres away.

Oscar checking river

Oscar, our driver and Project Officer, walked across the river to make sure the vehicle would be able to make it.

Chimpazi is a farming community. It is in the opposite direction from the sugar plantation so no one works at the plantation. It is a poor community. Homes are made of mud bricks and grass roofs. However, we were impressed with the work that this village has done to keep their village clean and healthy. There are three village members who formed a Health Committee to work with our team and each have a filter.

 

Jerry, Derlinie

Lonnie checking filter

The filters are working well and flow rates are good. The villagers had dug rubbish pits and latrines.

Rubbish pit     Jerry checking latrine

They are using dish drying racks and handwashing stations.

Dish Drying rack

Lonnie with ashes

If they can’t afford soap they use ash which Lonnie, our Community Health Promoter, is showing us in this picture.

The kids really enjoy it when the team comes.

Kids with Blessings

One of our team members, Blessings is having fun with the kids.

When our team goes into a village often the borehole is not working and requires only minor repair. If our biosand implementers were trained on borehole repair they could train villagers how to repair their boreholes themselves. Sometimes the borehole only needs a $2 rubber O-ring. We are looking into getting training for our team members on borehole rehabilitation.

Constructing filters

Blessings, Aida and  Stuward working on constructing 8 filters. All molds are working.

When we were at the factory, we also went through the sand sorting analysis with all staff and they seem to know how it is done and how to enter the values in the Excel spreadsheet. The sand sorting analysis determines whether the material from the quarry will give the desired percentages of fine and coarse sand in order to get the appropriate flow rate of the biosand water filter.

Sand analysis

We had a very productive visit with both the North and South teams. The team  members are feeling positive about the work they are doing . Since they are moving further out to more remote villages who are desperately in need of clean water, they are being welcomed by the village leaders. Even though some of the villages are very poor, the villagers are willing to pay something toward their filter and they are willing to carry the filter and the bags of prepared sand and gravel long distances.

Because of the generous donation from the Spirit Singers Choir of Deer Park  and St. Andrews churches, we were able to purchase 44 mosquito nets that will be given to  families identified by our Community Health Promoters as being in the most need.

Mary receiving mosquito net

Thank you to everyone who is supporting the Malawi Water Project. We have witnessed the gratitude of the families whose health has been significantly improved because of your concern and caring.

An Exciting Start to 2018

We had a successful year in 2017 which resulted in the following achievements:

  1. We have received approval as a Registered Canadian Charity
  2. We have completed the construction of a biosand filter factory
  3. We have developed partnerships to extend our impacts and move to sustainability
  4. We have reinforced and expanded our training
  5. We have supported the creation of sustainable healthy villages
  6. We have installed 1675 filters as of the end of December providing clean water to over 12,700 users
  7. We have held 124 community meetings which have provided training on proper sanitation and hygiene to 13,000 participants

In January 2017, we incorporated as an independent society and were approved by the Canada Revenue Agency as a Registered Canadian Charity.

We have named the new charity Healthy Lives International Society (BN784173890RR0001) so that we don’t limit our activities, it will continue to operate under the trade name of Malawi Water Project.

We were so pleased to receive a grant from the Alberta Community Initiatives International Development Grant from the Government of Alberta Culture and Tourism Department. We received the maximum amount which is $25,000. This will go a long way to support the Project in providing clean water and information on health and sanitation to remote villages.

One of our many accomplishments was the construction of a factory dedicated to biosand filter construction. This factory is a huge benefit to the Project because it also contains a training room, kitchen and an office.

We have established relationships which support sustainability and expand our impact. One example  of these partnerships is with the National Cheng Kung University in Taiwan. In July, a group of its students came to us to learn how to construct and install the filters, and they also funded construction of 8 Malawi Water Project filters.

 The students from Taiwan were appalled at the condition of the water that people were drinking during the dry season when the water table is low.

 

 

 

In September we held a 10 day training session on the biosand filter and on community health promotion. The training was a refresher course for our existing staff and initial training for new staff.

        
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We try to teach children about proper sanitation and hygiene but it is so difficult for them to learn because they don’t have desks or chairs. They share a notebook and pencil.

 

There are routinely cholera outbreaks in various areas very close to our factory in Chikwawa, Southern Malawi.

We have been assisting a village  that has worked hard to become cholera free. Delia Mtonyo is the Headwoman in her village. 

Delia asked our team for help. Our biosand implementers delivered filters to her village and our Community Health Promoters held sessions on how to create a healthy environment in the village. The village began work on changing their behaviour in 2014 and from that time until today, they have not had a case of cholera. We held a celebration in Delia’s village and gave certificates and prizes to 10 winners who had won the healthy home competition.

We provided Delia the tools and the information she needed to create a healthy village and Delia has taken the information and acted on it. Her village will never look back – and now, Delia is being asked by other chiefs how she managed to change her village and she is helping them do the same.

 

We Have a Matching Donation

We are so grateful to have a donor who has stepped forward and offered to match every donation made to the Malawi Water Project before December 31st, to a maximum of $10,000.
 
If you haven’t already done so, then don’t miss the opportunity to donate soon so that your donation can be doubled! That’s right doubled!
 
This donation could not have come at a better time as we have been experiencing serious health concerns in the villages near our Biosand Filter Production Facility. Doctors Without Borders has set up a tent outside the local hospital to treat patients with potentially deadly cholera. Unfortunately, this disease seems to strike at the hottest time of the year leaving patients with high fevers, uncontrollable diarrhea and dehydration in a tent with no air conditioning in 45 degree weather.
 
Our team has been working hard to make sure the surrounding villages have access to clean water and sanitary living conditions so they don’t experience these horrendous outbreaks in the future.
 
We would really like to arm as many communities as possible over the next year with knowledge about proper sanitation and hygiene and provide them with Biosand Water Filters so they have access to clean water.

 

Blessings with villagers

 

 

Lack of access to clean water has lead to a cholera outbreak in nearby villages.  Cholera can lead to death if left untreated.

 

 

 

 

Cholera Tent

 

 

 

A cholera treatment tent set up by Doctors Without Borders.  Cholera transmission is closely linked to inadequate access to clean water and sanitation facilities.

 

 

 

 

 

We also would like to provide Biosand Filters to communities located on Lake Malawi. Families are drinking untreated water from the lake. These communities aren’t able to have wells drilled on their land, because there aren’t any roads and the drilling equipment is too heavy to bring by boat. The filters turn disease and parasite laden lake water into safe drinking water.

Kids at lake

Your kind donation will be put to good use and provide significant benefits. I’m continually reminded how fortunate we are to have clean drinking water by turning on our tap. Our goal is to bring clean water and teach proper sanitation and hygiene to as many people living in remote areas of Malawi as possible. Together, we can help villagers protect themselves from devastating water borne diseases.

If you would like further information about our activities, please send me an email at helen@malawiwaterproject.com or phone me at 403-271-5924.

All donations will be matched up to $10,000 until the end of the year!  So join us this Holiday Season to help ensure more families can stay happy and healthy.

Our Fundraising Campaign Has Launched

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With a little help from our friends we had a very successful launch to our 2017 fundraising campaign by holding an Awareness Afternoon and lunch for the Malawi Water Project.  We were so fortunate to have Dr. David Manz, inventor of the biosand water filter, speak to us about the workings of the filter and how the filter holds the promise of clean water for everyone.

                             Ashif and Reeshma with Dr Manz

Two dedicated Project volunteers Ashif and Reeshma Bhura were able to show the location of individual households with filters using Google Maps and our new monitoring technology, Kobo Toolbox.

This past year has been very active for the Malawi Water Project. Here are some of the accomplishments.

  1. We have received approval as a Registered Canadian Charity
  2. We have completed the construction of a biosand filter factory
  3. We have developed partnerships to extend our impacts and move to sustainability
  4. We have reinforced and expanded our training
  5. We have supported the creation of sustainable healthy village
  6. We have installed 1542 filters as of the end of September providing clean water to 12,017 users
  7. We have held 122 community meetings which have provided training on proper sanitation and hygiene to 12,596 participants

Please go to our “What’s New” page above  to read more details on the year’s activities.

We have named the new charity Healthy Lives International Society so that we don’t limit our activities and the charity will continue to operate under the trade name of Malawi Water Project.

There is currently a serious health issue in the Chikwawa area which is where our factory is located. Our factory is near a school so every day we have over 100 children coming to get clean water from the filter.

The Malawi Water Project knows how important it is to continue to provide filters and training on proper sanitation and hygiene to protect family members especially children from the devastating effects of cholera.

We thank you for your continued support.