Access to safe water in the country will remain a challenge to many people if a recent assessment report by the Kalondolondo Programme on tap water in Kasungu is anything to go by.
The assessment conducted by the Centre for Youth and Children Affairs (Ceyca), was released on Friday at a dissemination conference held at Chikho Hotel in the district.
Kalondolondo has since recommended liberalising water services to allow other players in the sector and to create competition for better alternatives.
Among others, the assessment says efforts to grow the sector may be stifled because of poor customer care, corruption, poor communication and lack of contingency plans among service providers and their clients.
In Kasungu, for instance, the report faults what it calls a communication gap between the district’s Water Users Associations (WUAs) and the Central Region Water Board (CRWB).
“There is no mutual communication on developments between the two,” the report says.
CRWB senior zone manager for Kasungu, Moses Kalenga, admitted, that the challenges are affecting efforts to provide quality water in the district, but was quick to say a solution required concerted efforts.
In an interview, Kalondolondo programme manager Jephter Mwanza echoed the calls for liberalisation of the market; saying it is the only way to move the sector forward.
Said Mwanza: “The assessment is a clear testimony that the CRWB’s monopoly is obstructing efforts towards easing access to potable water in the district. They have not lived to the expectations of their clients.”
Kalondolondo Programme is an initiative by a consortium of Plan Malawi, Council for Non-governmental Organisations in Malawi (Congoma) and ActionAid to help track public service delivery in areas of health, education, sanitation and agriculture.