People and animals in Nkhukwa Village situated 50 kilometres from Lilongwe City, Malawi’s capital, drink from the same river, a situation that frequently results in waterborne diseases such as cholera.
One of the village residents, Maria Chilowa, said this last week during the launch of a village borehole by Global Hope Mobilisation.
Said Chilowa in a statement: “In dry season, women have to wake up as early as 4am and walk about six kilometres to Namizu River in search of water.”
Nkhukwa Primary School head teacher James Nsangama said the water problem affected 1 654 pupils and forced most girls to absent themselves from school.
“The school has experienced water problems for so long. Pupils report late for classes and most projects on the school are not yet completed because there was no water at the school.
“Most girls also used to shun classes during their menstrual period due to lack of water,” he said.
Globe Hope Mobilisation executive director Caleb Thole said they drilled the borehole as one way of improving sanitation in the area.
“The project is targeting 1 654 pupils at Nkhukwa with enrolment of 911 females and 643 males. We have also targeted at least 1 000 households with an average of five people per family expected to benefit,” said Thole.
According to Thole, there are no pipes, canals, reservoirs or any other large-scale infrastructure for water supply in rural areas where 80 percent of the population lives.
He said Malawi is considered a water-stressed country with less than 1 700m3 of freshwater per capita.
“In addition, Malawi is experiencing remarkable population growth, especially in its urban and peri-urban areas. Consequently, as the country grows, water availability further declines. Future water demand projections predict that Malawi will fall to less than 1 000m3 of freshwater per capita by as early as 2015, making it a “water scarce” nation. Water scarcity will severely limit agricultural productivity, dropout in schools, especially adolescent girls and increased waterborne disease in the country,” he said in the statement.