In many rural communities in Malawi, access to safe drinking water remains a challenge. In some communities, people have difficulties even accessing the contaminated water from unprotected sources. This was the case for Mnyakose village in Mutchenda Area Program in Malawi. The people in this village had no access to safe drinking water. The only source of water was the dirty Kaviyere River. During the dry season the river could dry up and people had to dig holes along the river bed looking for water. Women could wait for hours during the dry months to fill a bucket of water.
The situation changed when Myakose village was earmarked for a borehole under the Malawi, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Project. With the news of the borehole, the village worked on all the requirements to receive a borehole. This included attainment of open defecation free status as a village. They put in place all sanitary and hygiene facilities at the household level. The pump was installed in the village at a borehole depth of 66 Meters. Sadly the excitement was short lived as the pump installed was not be able to pump water for long and became stiff. Since this well was deep, it meant many rods had to be used and consequently that made the pump to be very heavy. People could hardly pump the water. Many feared there would never be enough water.
The coming in of the Life Pump through the Innovation Fund made all the difference to this village. The partnership between World Vision International and Design Outreach US led to the sourcing of Life Pumps which are the only feasible option for areas with deeper aquifers. The old pump was removed and the Life Pump was installed. “If it were not for the Life Pump, the village would have gone back to the old contaminated water source. Thanks to World Vision for thinking of bringing this type of borehole pump in our village as it had bailed us from the problems we were having with the other type of pump,” said Village Head, Mnyakose.
The Life pump has advantages over the other pumps. The Life Pump is ideal for situations where aquifers are beyond 45 meters deep. The other important element about the Life Pump is that it remains softer when pumping, even when the depth goes up to 100 meters. The pumping mechanism of the Life pumps proves to be simpler. Children and even the elderly find it easy to pump water on the Life Pump. Without a Life Pump many deep boreholes are abandoned or declared non-productive.
The Chairman of the Mnyakose water point committee, James Chipoka, was quick to say that their lives in the village had changed since the installation of the Life Pump. “Our lives are very healthy now, we no longer suffer from diarrhea and other waterborne diseases as we used to. Our children are also very healthy and do not delay going to school as was the case before,” explained James. Mary Kawaza, Secretary for the water committee believes the borehole in the village is a special gift from God. “We will live to cherish this gift. Like the village head said, many thanks to World Vision and the donors for giving this borehole,” added Mary.