Traditional leaders in Rumphi have agreed to have sanitary facilities in all their villages by end of next year in an effort to eliminate open defecation.
The chiefs, led by acting Paramount Chief Chikulamayembe, made the commitment on Saturday during a briefing session on the Africa San4 Conference declarations.
Malawi and other African states agreed to end open defecation by 2030 during the Africa San4 Conference in Senegal in May this year.
Among other declarations, member States agreed to strengthen local structures in their respective countries after recognising the role that local leaders play in ensuring sanitation.
In Rumphi, the chiefs agreed to eliminate open defecation by December 2016. They agreed to achieve this by formulating by-laws and sub-committees to oversee the project.
Said Chikulamayembe: “First of all, we chiefs should be exemplary by constructing these sanitary facilities. It will be shameful to encourage our subjects to have pit latrines when we chiefs do not have one.”
Deputy director of water supply services in the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, Emma Mbalame, advised councils to work hand in hand with the chiefs in achieving universal access to sanitation.
The Global Sanitation Fund (GSF) project is in Rumphi, Balaka, Ntchisi, Nkhotakota, Chikwawa and Phalombe.