Happy Holidays

Our Project Team in Malawi, and our Volunteer Management Team in Canada would like to wish you and your family Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.  Thank you to all of our donors and volunteers for a most successful year in making such a huge difference in the lives of families who now are drinking clean water.

Your generous support has helped make diseases caused by contaminated water a thing of the past for families in rural parts of Malawi.

And in case you haven’t heard, the Malawi Water Project has now installed over 1300 filters which have provided clean water to 10,500 people!  As well, we have conducted numerous community health meetings which have provided education on proper sanitation and hygiene to nearly 10,000 people.

Last month, we announced a donation matching program by one of our most supportive donor families.  Since then, the response has been generous and we are happy to announce that we have now raised over $9000 toward our goal of $10,000 which will be matched until the end of the year – Just $1000 left to raise by December 31st!

                                    Jenifer Moreland                                     Esther Khasimu

Have a wonderful holiday season and we wish you and your family a very healthy, prosperous and peaceful year in 2017.

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                                                                Zikomo ~ Thank You

 

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Matching Donation

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Great news! Our strongest supporting family has offered to match any donation we receive from November 1, to December 31, to a maximum of $10,000. That’s right a maximum of $10,000! We are so grateful and we want to make sure we can reach the $10,000 mark to take advantage of this wonderfully generous offer.

Please let your family and friends know that their donation will double if they donate during the Christmas season. If anyone asks you what you want for Christmas and you don’t really need anything, ask them to donate a filter or partial filter to a family in rural Malawi. It will make such a huge difference in the lives of the family who you are helping.

The father and mother in the family will not be sick from drinking contaminated water and will be able to continue working in their fields growing crops and tending to their chickens and goats.

Their children will not get sick from water borne diseases and will be able to continue going to school. The grandparents will be able to look after little ones while mother and father are tending to their farm. The family will be better off financially because they won’t have to spend what little money they do have on medication. The filter will be shared with extended family and friends AND your gift will continue working to keep your family healthy for many years to come.

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Join us this Christmas to make a whole family happy and healthy.

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Successful Benefit Evening

Our first ever live auction was fun. Everyone got into the game and enjoyed the lively entertainment.

screen-shot-2016-10-22-at-4-22-58-pm The change of venue was a hit. Great food, wonderful service, lots of room and enjoyable live music though out dinner.
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With a variety of silent auction items and special live auction items to bid on, the night was full of activity and  excitement.img_3895

 

 

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Our administrative team and silent auction coordinators did a great job preparing for the evening.

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Karen Belanger kept the evening moving while our donors helped make the evening a success by pledging funds for very needed items for the Project.

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Ashif and Reeshma Bhura gave an informative and inspiring update on Project activities while Nancy Swerhun gave a heart wrenching speech about the conditions of life in Malawi and the desperate need for clean water.

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The evening closed with live music featuring talented vocalist Nynne Collins.

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Thank you to everyone who participated in the evening or made donations to the Project. We were able to raise more than we did last year so the teams in Malawi are very thankful that they will be able to continue helping their families and neighbours have access to clean water.

 

You Are Invited !

The Malawi Water Project
Benefit Evening

Dinner & Live and Silent Auction

NEW! Preview auction items here

Ticket deadline was October 11th. Contact Helen at helen@malawiwaterproject.com to inquire about ticket availability

Our goal is to improve health and alleviate suffering by providing clean, safe drinking water.

Biosand Water Filter

We teach proper sanitation and hygiene to small villages in Malawi and we train villagers how to construct biosand water filters.

DATE:  Saturday, October 15, 2016 | 5:30 pm – 10:00 pm

WHERE:  Carriage House Inn, 9030 MacLeod Trail South, Calgary, AB

COST:  $60 Adults

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

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Live Music

Malawi Water Project

“Providing Clean Water, Saving Lives”

Back From Malawi

My daughter Karen and I arrived in Malawi earlier in May for our annual visit to the 3 project areas where we get a chance to assess the progress and impact of the Malawi Water Project and meet our teams in person.

This is how our visit went.

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After visiting all three Project areas and reviewing the work being done, we are pleased to report that the teams are consistently producing and installing the target for the Project of 45 filters each month. The follow-up has really improved this year. All regions are following-up on the filters at least 4 times after installation. The last follow-up occurs 6 months after installation so by then the owners are into the routine of using their filter and are aware of how to take care of it.  One village we visited has a very proactive village Headman who has set up a health committee and is encouraging all of the villagers to follow the instructions from our community health promotion team.  Many of the households have bio-sand filters, new clean latrines (outdoor pit toilets), dish drying racks to eliminate germs from dishes by drying them in the sun, rubbish pits and hand washing stations beside the latrines.

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We held meetings with each of the teams and gave gifts to each of the team members including the volunteers.  They all seem to be working well together and are happy. They are so pleased that they have jobs. There are so few people in the villages who have paid employment.  With their salaries they help out their extended family members.

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This year has been particularly difficult for a great many people in the country. The south part of the country experienced extreme drought and the north had severe flooding, so food is scarce. Many people did not harvest enough to last until the next crop matures. The government is trying to buy maize from surrounding countries and may have to go as far as Mexico. There were children picking up dried grass seed to give to their mothers to cook.  This is the first year that we have had people quietly come up to us and say they don’t have food at home and have children to feed. We gave away our take-out food to an elderly woman who was asking for help. It has been terribly difficult and heart wrenching.

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Many people are ill and can’t afford medicine so we personally purchased medicines from a wholesale pharmacy to take to a clinic that our South team is working with. There were so many mothers and children waiting for food supplements of soy given out by the government. We took malaria medication to the clinic along with ciprofloxin, worm treatment and pain medication. The pharmacy also donated large bottles of pain medication for children as they wanted to help the remote areas we were travelling to.

Our superheros were busy constructing the filters so that families could have clean uncontaminated water.

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It is so easy to get pulled off course as the needs in this country are so great.  We have to keep focused on water and sanitation as this is helping to keep people healthy so they can work and go to school to get an education.  There have been outbreaks of cholera in the country this year and many people are desperately in need of filters. We have long waiting lists in all three areas.

Our three Field Coordinators were in Zambia at the Quality Assurance Workshop for the bio-sand filter.  The workshop was sponsored by CAWST (Center for Affordable Water and Sanitation Technology). The intent of the workshop was to make sure the filters are being constructed and installed properly and are being followed-up.

During the week that the Field Coordinators were away we met with the administrators to go over any challenges they are experiencing. We reviewed and scanned this year’s receipts, reviewed our budgets and reviewed the Malawi Revenue Authority rules and regulations to make sure we are in compliance with them.

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We held a Field Coordinator meeting to discuss our progress to date and our future plans. One of the processes we introduced  is a new way for the teams to keep track of their visits to the homes and to complete their reports. We are using an application that was developed for NGO’s working in rural areas where internet access is not prevalent. The application is called Kobo Toolbox and we have purchased Samsung tablets for the teams to use. This has allowed us to develop a questionnaire that the team members use to keep track of their filters and their community home visits. It has GPS capability which hopefully we will be able to use to allow us to track all filters.The team members were so excited to learn this new technology. They are so anxious to learn. I couldn’t even get them to take a break!

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We learned of a primary school in the north that provides room and board to young children. The school doesn’t have running water or electricity. The children don’t have bedrooms, they all sleep on the floor in the classrooms. They don’t have mosquito nets and they have to go to the river to get water to drink.  There are 500 students at the school. The teachers do not have books so they teach by using a blackboard.  The children are given one meal per day consisting only of ground maize porridge. Unfortunately this is very common in Malawi.

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One of the things we did concentrate on this year was teaching the Field Coordinators how to test water using a small kit that is great for taking samples in the field. We are hoping to have a kit for each of the three regions to start sampling water and testing for e-coli.

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So that was our trip this year.  The teams are working hard helping their neighbours stay healthy. No doubt there is a need to get more filters into the communities and more training on proper sanitation and hygiene.

If you can help, it would be greatly appreciated. Any amount goes such a long way in Malawi.

Reaching the Most Vulnerable

Malawi Water Project Report for 2015 

The year started out ominously with widespread flooding hitting the Mfera area in the south of Malawi where we have one of our three filter construction sites. Almost 200 people died and almost one –hundred thousand people lost everything, their homes, their livestock and their crops –starvation became a threat. Our donors rose to the occasion and donated over $3000 to help with flood relief. We took the funds on our trip to Malawi and they were used to buy maize and maize flour. We were honoured to be able to participate in some of the distribution of the maize with Father Raphael Mponda who had organized a list of those most vulnerable, those who would need the food until their crops could be replanted and grow again. Thanks to those who generously donated to help those half way round the world in crisis. You don’t know how much of a difference you made to many people’s survival!

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This year proved to be the year of the volunteer for the Malawi Water Project. We have several villagers who believe strongly in helping the families in their villages implement health and sanitation practices that will reduce illness. When we were in Malawi in May we distributed red T-shirts with Volunteer Community Health Promoter printed on them so that the volunteers have official status within the villages. We feel so lucky to have these committed volunteers who have very little and who will come out and spend all day undertaking the backbreaking task of washing sand for the filters and other hard labour in return for lunch and a bar of soap. Without them we wouldn’t be able to provide clean water to as many people as we do.

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From January 1, 2015 to December 31, 2015 we installed 385 filters and reached 3041 people with information on proper sanitation and hygiene. This year we placed more emphasis on the follow-up of the filters to make sure every one of them is working and providing clean water. The picture below of one of the owners shows she is happy to receive a laminated instruction sheet telling her how to properly maintain their filter.

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Along with supplying a filter to a family, our Community Health Promoters teach the family how to construct hand washing stations or tippy taps and how to construct dish drying racks to keep clean dishes away from the ground and the animals. Families are also taught how to build proper latrines or outdoor toilets away from their water sources and houses.

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More and more people are becoming aware of the biosand filter and are requesting to have one in their homes.

We are very thankful to have received a grant  in 2015 from the Community Initiatives Program administered through the Alberta Government Department of Culture and Tourism. This grant was awarded through the International Development Program. It is given to organizations working in developing countries who have raised at least the amount of the grant through our own fundraising activities. With the grant we have been able to provide more filters to families and to reach more people with information on proper sanitation and hygiene.

A filter has been sold by our South team to a Malawian at full price so this is a milestone for the Project. Proceeds from the sale will be used to subsidize filters that are going to very poor villagers who cannot afford to pay full price for their filters. This is the start of our Project becoming self-sustainable in the country.

We are supplying yellow jerry cans with each filter and instructing owners to clean the jerry cans and use only these containers for storing filtered water. This way we can be assured that the filtered water is not being contaminated in the home by being put in the same containers that are used to bring the water into the home.

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After participating in an NGO event in the capital of Malawi we received some recognition for our project when one of the government ministers visited our booth, very exciting for our three field coordinators who were manning the booth and showcasing the filter.

NGO Week demonstration for the Minister

NGO Week Preparing the Display

Lastly we dipped our hand – so to speak- into water testing with the help of some American university students who were in the country on a water project. This is something we hope to do more of in 2016, both to ensure the filters are working correctly and to provide evidence to those who have any doubts that the filters work.  IMG_4101

Other plans for 2016 are to set up a permanent construction site on our recently secured parcel of land and drill a borehole. We also hope to set up a maize mill or other service as a way of generating income for the project, improving the lives of the people and moving towards making the project more self-sustaining.

We are so thankful to our many donors and want to reassure them that we carefully monitor and spend your money to have the most beneficial impact. It bears repeating that we are all volunteers on the Malawi Water Project and essentially all money donated goes to Malawi and is spent on the water project, including paying salaries to the project’s 22 employees and volunteers in Malawi.  With your help we are bringing clean water to the most vulnerable children and families in rural Malawi.  We would not be able to do it without you!

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We held our annual Dinner and Silent Auction for the Malawi Water Project on October 17th. What a success! We had approximately 200 people in attendance which exceeded our expectations. We raised  $26,263 at the event, we have received more than $7500 in donations through the church so far and we have received a pledge to match any donations received up to $7500 from now to December 31st.  I have attached some photos of our fun event.
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Thank you to everyone who participated by either attending, donating, volunteering, performing or acquiring items for the silent auction. Our teams in Malawi now have renewed energy knowing that we will be able to continue to bring clean water and teach proper sanitation and hygiene to villagers in rural Malawi. They will be able to help keep families healthy especially little children under 5 years old.
Our goal for the coming year is to install 360 filters and provide training on proper sanitation and hygiene to 3000 villagers.
The people of rural Malawi thank you for your support.