Sankhani Village

Sankhani village is in a remote area of Mchinji District in Malawi, 60 miles away from the nearest town.

Sankhani Village

Because of its location the people of Sankhani are not well served by the underfunded district council, and few organisations will venture so far from the paved road. This makes Sankhani typical of the kind of villages Pump Aid has worked with over the past 18 years.

The village is home to 18 households. Many people living here engage in seasonal work on other farms to earn money, but return home after several weeks to tend to their own land.

Pump Aid installed a protected water point here in 2011, providing the village with a secure and reliable source of water for their daily needs. This has been critical for the community, especially for women, as much of their lives orbit around the use of water.

A woman in Sankhani usually starts her day at 4 a.m. when she wakes up to collect water to prepare a simple breakfast of tea and porridge for her family, before heading off to work in the fields. Before the pump was installed, women had no other option but to draw water from an open contaminated well that smelt fetid: They knew the water was dangerous to consume.

“We felt very bad about giving children dirty water,” said one mother in the village. “As mothers, we knew we were contributing to the sickness of our children.”

With illness, particularly preventable conditions caused by polluted drinking water, now reduced in Sankhani, the village is looking forward to the growing season when they can take their surplus tomatoes, onions and other vegetables to market to sell. This is another outcome of improved access: Improved access frees up time from collecting water to tend to crops and other priority responsibilities. This means more surplus fruits and vegetables to sell, leading to additional income to send their children to school, or for special occasions like weddings when villages come together to celebrate.

“We felt very bad about giving children dirty water. As mothers, we knew we were contributing to the sickness of our children.”