The Mulanje Chapter of the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (Adra) Malawi has decried problems of access to potable water in Mulanje, observing that the issue requires serious consideration as it increases gender imbalance.
Adra Mulanje programmes officer Andiyesa Mhango said this on Tuesday during the launch of a Swedish-funded project to drill boreholes for thousands of households in the area of Senior Chief Chikumbu’s area in Mulanje.
She said looked from a developmental perspective, scarcity of clean water systematically puts women and girls in the area behind as their participation in development activities is highly affected by long hours spent fetching water from far.
Said Mhango: “We noted that women from this area have to walk long distances to fetch water for household use, and each time we come to conduct discussions with them on some developmental issues aimed at transforming the lives of women and girls through economic empowerment, a lot of women do not turn up for the meetings.”
According to findings that led to the designation of the Peter Wallenberg Project for the area, school-going girls also face the same challenge as they usually fetch water from distant places before going to school, which contributes to poor performance in class among some of them or worse dropping out of school.
Commenting on the project, Mulanje district water development officer Edwin Mchilikizo agreed with Adra Malawi’s observations, saying people in the area are currently facing a lot of challenges in accessing safe and clean water.
In connection with the provision of safe water sources, Adra seeks to facilitate a 90 percent latrine usage by households benefiting from the safe water sources with an aim of achieving total sanitation in the area.