Farewell Letter

“Farewell…until we meet again.”

– August 17, 2013 to February 22, 2014 –

Dear Friends,

We would like to inform you that we are officially departing Malawi on Tues, Feb. 25 after 6 inspiring months in the Warm Heart of Africa.  Our departure saddens us, and we are sure there will be tears in our eyes, however, our time spent with you all rewards our spirit tremendously, and we will be leaving Malawi with the utmost confidence and inspiration for the Malawi Water Project.

It has been absolutely wonderful meeting all of you, and getting to know each of you during our time here in Malawi, and we truly feel as though we gained a new family.  It really makes no difference whether we’re Canadian or Malawian, we are all part of the same human race, and it amazes us to see how people from different nations, cultures, and races can band together to affect the lives of those less fortunate, and who need a little helping hand.

We hope you know how proud we are of all the field teams.  The willingness you have shown to learn new skills, the commitment you have made to this project, and to helping your fellow citizens in vulnerable areas, is honorable and truly admirable.  Of course, there is much to be done, but we have complete faith in you, to set the stage, get the water flowing, impact the sanitation and hygiene of your neighbors, and ultimately transform your communities.  Each of you plays a part, and each of you are important to this project.  We have seen your determination, your creativity, and your energy.  It is truly inspiring.

And to the administrators and managers of this project, we applaud your involvement and influence on your communities; with the work your organizations do in your respective regions.  During our time here, there were many occasions where our paths connected in the same direction, and times where they moved in contrasting courses.  But, throughout it all, our efforts were based on one singular cause, to help build capacity, technical skills, and improve the effectiveness and progress of this important project, and we hope you understand that was always our intention under the guidance of our Canadian coordinators.  We trust, that this year will be a turning point in the Malawi Water Project, and it will only take notice with your leadership, direction, presence, and valuable support.   There is always room for improvement, but it is evident that we can now count on your long-term support.

Being deeply involved with the project over the last 6 months, we understand that there are numerous challenges we all face in order to attain our newly defined quota for the year 2014, of at least 5 working filters installed, and at least 1 community WASH meeting per month.  But, if we look at the numbers, we can surely see the positive effect of meeting this challenge.  At this point it would be beneficial to see some of those important numbers that our new data collection system has produced:

As of February, 2014

South

Central

North

Total

# of Biosand Filters Installed in Households

62

43

47

152 filters producing safe water
Reported # of People that Use the Filter

303

253

622

1178 people benefitting from safe water
# of Filters in Demand

94

76

77

247 filters in demand
# of Participants in CHP Community WASH meetings

160

650

24

834 participants in Water Sanitation & Hygiene meetings (since Oct, 2013)

Now let’s look at our projected target of at least 5 filters (or more), and at least 1 Community WASH meeting per month in each region.  In a year, this would result in the following:

Target for the year 2014

South

Central

North

Total

# of Biosand Filters Installed in Households (5 filters / mth)

60

60

60

180 more filters producing safe water
Projected # of People that Use the Filter (avg of 8 ppl / filter)

480

480

480

1440 more people benefitting from safe water
# of Participants in CHP Community WASH meetings (avg 50 participants / mtg)

600

600

600

1800 more participants in Water Sanitation & Hygiene meetings.

These are no small numbers for a growing project!  And of course, the sky is the limit for each region based on the determination and will by the teams to transform their communities.  We are behind you, and we will succeed.  However, with growth, care needs to be taken to ensure that we are providing quality, not only quantity.  Management and Field Coordinators have a key role to play, in order to ensure the timely delivery and quality of the project’s activities.

Over the course of the past 6 months, we’ve worked together to build on the technical skills required for implementing a better biosand filter, we’ve streamlined our financial systems by introducing new bank accounts and improved record keeping in order to maximize the impact of donor funding; we’ve learned to manage our action plans and turn them into accomplishments; we’ve improved on the tracking and monitoring of filters, and the collection of household sanitation and hygiene related data; our teams have moved a giant step forward into the world of information technology and are taking advantage of computers and the Internet to communicate and process vital information – information that the donor community feeds on.

All of this works together, to provide a family with a better chance to sustain a livelihood, allow a child to live past the age of 5, allow children to receive an education instead of medical treatment, take the financial burden off a family to provide medical care, and ultimately allow a country to grow in positive ways.

Let us all allow our newfound passion and freshly developed skills, to be the driving force in our challenge to help reduce the incidence of water borne illness and improve the livelihoods of families in the rural regions of this beautiful and culturally rich nation.  But let us not grow complacent – we must strive to keep our momentum, and keep advancing our skills and knowledge to meet the challenge.

We are apprehensive to depart from what we feel is a 2nd home, and are more saddened to leave you all, our dear friends.  We truly hope to be back one day very soon, and will assure that we are not leaving the Malawi Water Project.  Until then, please don’t forget us, and please don’t forget the ultimate reason why we are all working together in this project, from the donors and the Board in Canada, to the agents, managers, and field teams in Malawi, we are all striving to empower and transform your communities…together.

We thank you for all the lessons we have learned, and for opening your doors to us.

Until we meet again, please keep in touch.  We are always available by email.

Tiwonana & Zabwino Zonse,

Sincerely,

Ashif and Reeshma Bhura

Project Support

Malawi Water Project Canada

To View Ashif and Reeshma Photos click Photos

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