In November last year, we revisited a community-based childcare centre (CBCC) in the village of Mpunga in Malawi to see how our project had impacted the local children. Our CBCC project supports early years development through the provision of clean water, sanitation and improved nutrition supplemented with training and education throughout the community. In Mpunga, it was immediately clear how newly installed facilities such as the pump and latrines had dramatically improved the preschool environment.
Mpunga before the project
Before Pump Aid extended the CBCC project to Mpunga, the children suffered from extremely poor sanitation. There had been just one large toilet for the church, the size of which had scared children away from using it. This meant that they defecated and urinated in the open. Alongside this, there was no handwashing station and the limited water available was prioritised for cooking and cleaning utensils. As such, it was hard to embed good hygiene behaviour.
The results: a healthier and happier environment
The health and hygiene behaviour of the children in Mpunga significantly improved following the installation of better sanitation and water facilities. Children who are healthy and practise good hygiene are more likely to attend pre-school and thrive when they get there.
As of November 2017, there were 90 children in attendance to the school with 6 female caregivers. The children have immediate access to clean water, handwashing stations and soap and are taught to regularly clean right up to their forearms. This transformation in hygiene has resulted in a reduction of 20 diarrhoea cases per month down to 0.
We were also able to see the kitchen garden at the CBCC that had been made possible thanks to the new water supply. Here the school grows pumpkins, tomatoes and mustard, enabling cost-effective and sustainable access to nutritious food for the children. The caregivers can provide the children with 2 meals a day, illustrating another great benefit of attending the CBCC.
The wider community are also able to access it from 6am to 12 noon and then from 1:30pm to 5pm for a small household contribution which provides a fund to pay for maintenance and repairs, thus contributing to the project’s sustainability. Consequently, the benefits of a safe water supply for the school are magnified to help the whole village.
Talking to members of the CBCC committee and the village head, Ndogolo, it was great to hear that they were really pleased with Pump Aid’s support in providing the water supply facilities and community-wide training. Now, children in Mpunga have a safe environment in which to grow, learn and play thanks to our project. Thanks to our supporters, we are able to effect real change for the better for children in Malawi.
If you want to find out more about how we support early childhood development in Malawi, head to http://www.pumpaid.org/our-work/programmes/early-childhood-development/