Our Youngest Donor….

 

 

Donate Now

On his fifth birthday Amadeus, instead of receiving gifts from his friends at his birthday party, asked his friends to donate to the Malawi Water Project. He wanted to help his great aunt Helen make sure children in Malawi have clean water to drink. He raised $30 on his birthday and has donated that amount to the water  project. Not only did he give up his birthday gifts from his friends, he has set an example for other children his age to help others less fortunate. The children in Malawi thank you, Amadeus.

What Are We Doing In Malawi?

Donate Now

How Long Are We Going To Keep Doing This?

…..We Never Thought About Stopping  

So The Answer is “As Long As It Takes”

It will be 10 years on December 9th, 2019  since we sent a container of needed supplies to Malawi. How time flies! Although the container helped many people, their number one concern was the water. Because of water borne diseases adults couldn’t work or start small businesses, children were dying from cholera, dysentery and diarrhea. In December 2011 we started the Malawi Water Project.

 

This year was full of excitement but also heartbreak.

We were very sad to learn that Esther Mponda, who was herself an orphan at thirteen and responsible for raising 3 younger siblings unfortunately has recently died in her early 40’s. You may have heard me talk about Father Raphael Mponda the young priest who was instrumental in getting our water project off the ground in Malawi. Esther was Raphael’s wife. Her death is a great loss not only for her husband Raphael and their three children but for their community. Esther was very involved in helping others.

 

What have we accomplished since the Project began?

 

As of September 2019 we have installed 2,459 filters bringing clean water to 19,668 people.

 

 

 

Our monitoring system allows us to use GPS coordinates to locate each filter.

 

 

Along with drinking clean water, it is crucial for villagers to change their behaviour to improve their sanitation and hygiene. Part of our involvement in a village is to teach families how to protect themselves against water borne diseases.

 

 

We have held 147 Community Health Meetings enabling us to reach 14,206 people with information on proper sanitation and hygiene.

 

 

 

Currently we are operating in two locations in Malawi, one in the North and one in the South. We have a very enthusiastic team.

Our team has had extensive training on how to properly construct, install and maintain the biosand water filter. They have been taught how to follow-up with every filter and set goals with each household assisting them in changing their behaviour to incorporate proper sanitation and hygiene in their daily routine. We emphasize how important it is to keep accurate records and have taught the team how to use computers.

As part of our team we have a group of very confident young women. It has been proven that as many as 30—50% of water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) projects fail after two to five years. One reason why they fail is that they don’t include increasing the knowledge and training of individuals living in the country and working in the Project.  Excluding women from water, sanitation and hygiene project planning is another key factor.

 

 

Our Project follows a system

We determine whether or not we work with a village after meeting with the Village Head or Chief. If he or she is interested in working along side of us we hold a community WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) meeting to explain how dirty water is making their village sick. The team explains how families can improve their village by using proper sanitation and  hygiene practices.

The village Chief assigns a committee of volunteers who work with our team members to go to households and assist with the training on sanitation and hygiene so that the home meets all requirements for a healthy home. The team members show the participants a filter and explain how it works.The villagers sign up if they want to purchase a filter for a nominal fee. It is important that beneficiaries pay something toward their filter. They then have pride of ownership and just like us, they take better care of things they have worked for.

 

As we all know, changing our behaviour is the most difficult thing for us to do. Our trained staff work along side villagers to teach them how to have a proper clean latrine (pit toilet), how to construct a hand washing station, how to use a dish drying rack and clothes line to disinfect clothes, blankets and dishes. They are taught to dig a rubbish pit and construct a bath house. They are taught how to use a clean designated container for filtered water.

The number of changes we are recommending that the villages make can be overwhelming so it takes time and encouragement to reach all of these  goals. Developing the infrastructure can be costly for the family. Competition can add fun to making the changes.

How do we measure success?

We are committed to sustainability. Sustainability to us means that the villages we are working with will spread their knowledge and inspire other villages to follow their example to improve their health. We also are working hard to increase our partnerships within Malawi.   We are becoming recognized by International organizations. In partnership with St. John Ambulance  we have developed a Guidebook for Volunteers who are working in their villages to improve health, sanitation and hygiene. The Guidebook has been translated into Chichewa and is valuable not only for St. John volunteers but for our volunteers as well.

 

 

We are working hand in hand with Luke International which is a non-profit organization supported by the Taiwanese Government to provide biosand filters and training on proper sanitation and hygiene to communities they are working with on Lake Malawi.

 

Cindee Rood who is the founder of a US Non Government Organization called Formidable Joy has been drilling wells in Malawi. Cindee has purchased filters to go to homes in villages on Lake Malawi where a borehole cannot be drilled.

 

 

 

 

In Canada Rotary International supports getting clean water to rural villages. We are so grateful to the Centennial Rotary Club of Calgary for their support in getting filters to families in both the North and South Regions.

 

 

 

 

Thanks to two amazing supporting families, we were able to install solar panels and a sand sorting machine that will not only separate the sand from the gravel that is needed inside of the filter but it will at the same time wash this sand to the correct degree.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The solar system we installed is working well to power the factory and the water well pump. It survived the cyclone in March!!

 

 

 

We were held back this year due to the devastation following cyclone Ida in March which resulted in several homes including some of the homes of our beneficiaries being destroyed. Because the filters are concrete and very strong they survived. If you would like to view a short video clip showing a house that has collapsed in the TA or Traditional Authority of Kasisi click on the picture below.

 

 

Sarah, was able to act quickly following the cyclone and was able to gather and deliver items that were badly needed. The south team prepared buckets with maize flour, salt, oil, blankets, clothing and small clay stoves. The items were delivered with the help of the Government Health Services Officer who was aware of the communities most in need.

 

What’s ahead?

Our future goal is to become a Center of Excellence for Water, Sanitation and Hygiene in Malawi. We would like to be of service to other organizations who are working in water, sanitation and hygiene. In March we held a Train the Trainer Course  for our Community Health Promoters. It was called Delivering Effective WASH Training.  It was intended to teach our staff how to train volunteers to work with their villages to improve sanitation and hygiene.

Since the training was held, the North team has trained 18 Chiefs who will set up health committees in their villages and will train their health committee members on proper sanitation and hygiene.

The South Team trained  volunteers who will go back to their villages and support their community members on their quest for a healthy village.

New 2020 Added Service: Repairing Existing Water Wells

We are excited to announce that we are increasing our methods of bringing clean water to villages by repairing existing water wells or boreholes.

Many villages have had NGO’s come in and drill a borehole for their community which is so appreciated by all of the villagers, however, often the NGO does not follow-up with the village to make sure their borehole is continuing to work. It is the responsibility of the village to collect funds for parts and labour to repair their borehole. This is not working since it is very difficult for the village to save the money, it is difficult to get transportation to purchase parts and there are not many individuals who know how to repair the boreholes.

In October we trained all of our workers on borehole repair.

Our Field Coordinator in the South reported that the team was so excited because when they go to a village to install filters, often the village does not have a working borehole. Now they will be able to fix it. The plan is for the Chief to sign an agreement on behalf of his or her village to collect the funds for the parts and to pay us back over a year or two depending on the cost. We will also try to connect with the NGO who installed the borehole to ask for help with the costs of labour and transportation.

 

 

During the training the team went out to villages with boreholes that were not working. One borehole  at a school was not working for almost a year. Because the trainers had the correct tools, they were able to fix the borehole in 2 hours with a replacement part that cost about $120 CDN. The children were so excited to have water at their school again.

 

 

 

The people of Malawi thank you for your ongoing caring and support. Zikomo!

Thank you so very much to everyone who attended the Information Session on the Malawi Water Project on November 10th. We are most grateful, too, for the generous donations received at the event.

As we had hoped to do, we were fortunate to be able to connect with our volunteer Country Director, Sarah Falconer, via Skype to get a live, up to the moment update on the latest developments in the project. The connection with Malawi is always tenuous at best so we were happy that it was successful.

We were also fortunate to have Tal Woolsey from CAWST (Centre for Affordable Water and Sanitation Technology) attend, share his passion for improving lives through clean water and education, and give us a few words on his perspective after having worked in Africa “on the ground” for many years. He has been instrumental in supporting our Project since its inception.

“There is no passion to be found playing small and settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living”           Nelson Mandela

 

 

The Adventure Continues – You are Invited!!

THE MALAWIWATERPROJECT

Invites you to an information session in support of clean water

On November 10th, 2019

Join us for a video presentation of current activities, get to know our team members in Malawi and connect with a surprise guest live from Malawi (we hope!!!).

Event Details

Information Session and Fundraiser 

Date: November 10th, 2019

Time: 11:30 AM

Place: Deer Park United Church

77 Deer Point Rd. S.E Calgary, AB

Come and hear about the latest Malawi Water Project milestones and join us for free lunch and beverages

The MalawiWaterProject provides clean water to rural villagers by constructing and installing the household biosand water filter and by providing education and training on proper sanitation and hygiene. Come and learn about the impact your support is having on the health of families in rural Malawi, Africa.

 

 

 

Annual Visit to Malawi

A Project Update from Helen Timoffee

Each year usually in May, I travel to visit the Project to give support to the teams and review how things are going. In early May my husband Jerry accompanied me to Malawi to meet with Sarah (our Country Director) and our teams, in order to review the Project and survey the damage done by recent flooding.

Many people in southern Malawi had been affected by the flooding. The water had receded so people were beginning to move back to their villages to start again.  We saw areas where crops were completely washed away and mud huts had collapsed.

The lodge where we were staying in Blantyre also provided accommodation for the UNICEF staff who were responsible for coordination of the flood relief efforts being done by many of the large non-governmental organizations (NGOs). We spoke with the Coordinator of UNICEF who will be in Malawi for the next two months. The NGOs had set up large camps with tents, food and water, as well as, portable toilets.  Now, the challenge for people affected by the flooding is to return to their villages, start rebuilding their homes and replanting their crops.  UNICEF will be closing the camps soon. We met with one of their staff, a structural engineer who is assessing the damage done to schools and other public buildings affected by the floods. It certainly takes a coordinated effort to provide the most effective disaster relief response.

We visited some of the villages affected by the flooding and where Biosand Water Filters had been installed by the Malawi Water Project. These villagers did not live near the camps, so they stayed in their villages and have not had assistance from the large NGOs. It is amazing to see the resilience of these families. They have already replanted their crops and are in the process of rebuilding their houses.  In order to help our beneficiaries get back on their feet, we gave each family a water bucket, a bag of maize flour, cooking oil, salt and sugar as well as a blanket. Our project team will also reinstall or replace their Biosand Filters as needed. The families are very thankful for the help you have given.

I was distressed to see the condition of some of the children in one of these villages. The children had distended tummies (which may be a sign of parasitic worms, or it could be malnutrition). They also had many grey hairs, which does indicate malnutrition. Parents may have received limited education on nutrition because they are far from a clinic or health facility.  Many of the children’s teeth were brown, which is unusual since in Malawi most children’s and adults’ teeth are sparkling white.

One of the highlights of our time with the team was to thank our long term volunteers who have been with us for several years. We gave all of our volunteers a backpack filled with food items, however, we gave bicycles to four of our volunteers who have worked with the team since the beginning of the Project in 2012. They live far away from the factory and walk long distances to come and help sift and wash sand and gravel. They are given lunch and bars of soap when they come. We awarded their hard work with a bicycle which was greatly appreciated by each of them and was encouraging for our new volunteers who have recently joined the Project.

Volunteers sifting sand and gravel to prepare the media to be installed in the filter.

 

 

 

 

Four Volunteers were presented with bicycles for their hard work and longstanding commitment to the Project.

Jerry worked with Derlinie, our Field Coordinator, reviewing the financial records and receipts.

Filter production at the Project’s South factory was delayed in March because of the flooding. Sarah and the team members were out assessing the conditions of the filters and delivering emergency supplies to families. Everything is back on track now, but there will be a shortage of food in a few months when the current maize runs out and the new crops are not ready to harvest. We have saved some of the funds we received for disaster relief to help provide  food for families when that crises arises.

We have been partnering with other organizations to bring clean water and provide teaching to villagers on proper sanitation and hygiene. One of our joint initiatives was the development of a Guidebook with St. John Malawi. This will be used as a reference by trained staff and volunteers who are working with villagers to improve their health and hygiene.

We are also partnering with Luke International, a Taiwanese organization and with Formidable Joy, a USA organization who are helping to provide filters to villagers living near Lake Malawi. Because of the rocky terrain and lack of access to bring in drilling equipment, it is not possible to drill a borehole so villagers need to use the lake as a source of their drinking water.

Communities that rely on Lake Malawi for their drinking water are in need of filters – as you can see, the lake is used for many purposes.

On behalf of the beneficiaries, our teams in Malawi, our local agents, and our board members in Canada, I would like to thank you for your kindness and for assisting the Malawi Water Project to help families who are in such need. We have witnessed the gratitude of the families whose health has been significantly improved because of your caring and concern.

You are part of the transformation that is truly making a difference

 

 

Update on Flooding in Malawi

 

As most of you are probably aware, there have been devastating floods in Malawi and other parts of South Saharan Africa. The flooding in Malawi happened in the area of our South Factory in Chikwawa. Sarah, our Country Director, and Mayamiko, her 6 month old daughter are fine. They are living in the city of Blantyre, which is a 45 minute drive from the factory. Their house is strong, although some leaks have appeared in the ceiling. They have been without hot water and have had very sporadic electricity for 12 days. The flooding has been terrible in the rural villages. The worst hit area was next to the Shire River. Many of the crops were washed away, livestock have been lost and houses constructed of mud or mud bricks as well as latrines have fallen in. One of our staff lost his house. People have died mainly from their mud huts falling on them.

We were fortunate that all of our team members and volunteers are safe but many of our beneficiaries who have received filters have lost their houses. People who have lost their homes are staying at the church near the factory. They have been using our cooking facilities at the factory and we have been supplying some food. Some of the filters in people’s homes have been buried or broken. We will replace those filters.

Below is a video clip of our team pulling a filter out of collapsed house.

 

Many people have had to construct makeshift shelters until they can rebuild their houses.

 

Most people who still have filters are sharing their filters with neighbours. There is a concern that there will be an outbreak of cholera, so the filters that are still working will be crucial.

Sarah has received donations from local Malawians to purchase supplies and purchased buckets with 5KGs of maize, mbala’s (little cast iron stoves), blankets, clothes, etc. She has distributed the supplies with the Government Environmental Disaster worker to a community that was devastated by the flooding. The day I spoke with her she was exhausted.

Many disaster relief organizations are mobilizing. Large camps have been set up. After the emergency response is complete, the greater need will be to help people rebuild their houses and re-plant their crops. They will have to wait 3 months for the maize to be harvested. There will be a food shortage before their crops can be harvested. Already there is a shortage of maize to purchase.

The neighbouring country of Mozambique was hit extremely hard by cyclone Idai and our thoughts and prayers are with those so terribly affected. A large camp has been set up in southern Malawi near the Mozambique border. We will continue to do what we can in the villages we are currently working with.

We will be able to help our beneficiaries by replacing some of the items they have lost, such as their filters, water containers, buckets, blankets, clothes, mosquito nets and emergency food.

If you would like to assist please click here  and enter Heathy Lives International or Malawi Water Project. Please indicate disaster assistance in the “Add a Comment” section. Any funds you can provide will help families survive this terrible disaster.

 

 

 

 

 

Best Wishes for 2019

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Our Project Team in Malawi and our Volunteer Management Team in Canada would like to wish you and your family a healthy, happy and prosperous new year.

Thank you to all of our donors and volunteers for a most successful year, making a huge difference in the lives of families in rural Malawi who now are drinking clean water.

 

woman with filter

We have great news, too!  We reached our $10,000 matching donation that was announced earlier in December.  This gift and all your other generous support have helped make diseases caused by contaminated water a thing of the past for the families we have served.

And in case you haven’t heard, the Malawi Water Project has now installed over 2050 Biosand Water Filters, providing clean water to 14,700 people!

As well, we have conducted numerous community health meetings which have provided education on proper sanitation and hygiene to nearly 13,700 people.

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We are excited about new opportunities to provide biosand water filters to villagers in more remote areas of Malawi and to provide training to families who are anxious to learn about proper sanitation and hygiene.  Stay tuned for updates on our activities in 2019!

zikomo

Zikomo Kwambiri ~ Thank You

 

 

Wonderful News! We have a matching donation!

DONATE 

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.