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Denje pump

Big Give: Project Completion

Posted on: March 30, 2017

It’s been a busy few months since we finished our Big Give Campaign in December and we’ve got a lot to tell you about how your generosity has been making a huge difference across Malawi!

With the help of your donations and along with funding from the UK Government, three villages now have elephant pumps. These villages are located east of the capital Lilongwe, and are called Mthope, Mpango and Denje. You’ve helped supply safe and accessible water to 229 people, 147 of whom are children. Find out more about each of the villages below.

Locating the villages

We chose these villages in particular because they are remote and relatively small, and so haven’t received help from others before. The majority of people within the villages rely on agriculture for their main source of income. By having a constant and reliable water source central to their village, they have more opportunities to use the water for irrigation for their crops. This means they can slightly counter the extreme weather conditions Malawi faces and produce crops all year round.

Life before an elephant pump

Open wells are easily contaminated, by animals, faeces and floodwater. Sadly the majority of communities in Malawi have little choice but to continue to use the water and hope for the best. The open wells have a slight ridge around the outside, made of bricks or logs (see photos below), but you don’t need to be an expert to know that they aren’t effective enough to prevent contamination.

Life after an elephant pump

The consequence of having an enclosed well means that there is far less chance of contamination. This means people are healthy and are able to focus on their education or job. Children can attend school, improve their studies and have more opportunities for the future. This also frees their parents up to work rather than nurse their sick children.

It is impossible to fully understand the enormous impact this has had on the lives of the people in the villages but these before and after pictures are a good way to start…


(Coordinates -13.99805, 33.29317)*

The village of Mthope is found in the South Eastern part of Malawi near the border of Mozambique. Its remoteness means that it is home to only 17 households, with a total population of 96 people, 62 of these are children. This is the water source the village had been using.

Mthope before pump

Before we helped provide an elephant pump, Mthope had the most substantial well opening as it was lined with bricks and had a branch across it to make pulling the water up slightly easier. However, in 2017, this still doesn’t come close to being an acceptable and safe water source. Here is their new elephant pump!

Mthope pump


(Coordinates -13.68133, 33.06948)*

Mpango is the smallest of the three villages with only 5 households in total. There is a total of 27 people who live here, 18 of which are children. This was their water source.

Mpango before pump

Although the villagers in Mpango had tried to build up the outside of their well, a snake or other form of contamination could still fall in and contaminate the water as it was open to all elements. Now they have a fully protected well.

Mpango pump


(Coordinates -13.65794, 33.07821)*

The village of Denje is only 3.5km away from Mpango, but is slightly larger. It has 23 households which are home to 106 people, 67 of which are children. This was their well.

Denje before pump

As you can see, there is barely any protection around the well, and the only way of collecting water is to pull it up by hand using the bucket and rope, which can be a tiresome process. They now have a pump which is easy to use, and access to safe water.

Denje pump

Pump Aid are committed to creating lasting change, not quick fixes with no longevity. That’s why in each of these villages, we not only train villages to build the pump, but we also work closely with the communities to achieve this. In each community we establish Water Point Committees to manage and maintain the pumps and toilets, and we encourage the participation of underrepresented groups, especially women, who bear most of the responsibility for collecting water. We also promote good hygiene and sanitation behaviour through activities and workshops.

*See the exact location of these pumps by using google maps to plot the coordinates. It gives you an idea of just how remote and small these villages can be.

Google maps screenshot

To find out more about this project please visit our programme page here.

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Thanks again for all your support!