For almost two decades Pump Aid has been delivering safe water and improved sanitation to remote and impoverished communities in sub-Saharan Africa and this experience proves invaluable for bringing emergency relief to stricken areas. But we also know that long-term improvement needs more than just an emergency response to those who need it most. Long-term improvement requires permanent behaviour change and, more than just access to improved facilities, it requires the knowledge and motivation to use them.
In January 2015, floods hit parts of Southern Malawi which have been the worst for over half a century; more than 300,000 people were displaced to temporary shelters and more than 600,000 people were affected, with livestock and possessions swept away and water sources contaminated. It took several months before anyone could return home and, for the 54,000 subsistence farmers who saw their farms and crops washed away, rebuilding their lives and livelihoods could still take many seasons.
Working alongside Concern Worldwide, Pump Aid provided emergency sanitation and hygiene facilities for thousands of people in the temporary settlements that were built across the area. Flooding poses huge risks to health because it leads to the contamination of unprotected water sources (millions of people in Malawi still rely upon unprotected wells for the water they drink) and a lack of proper sanitation can lead to the rapid spread of potentially fatal diseases like diarrhoea and cholera.
Alongside its relief effort, Pump Aid worked with the displaced communities to increase their understanding of health and hygiene and help them achieve the improvements in health and life expectancy that come from improved hygiene and sanitation practices. So that when they returned to their homes and villages they continue to enjoy these benefits and have the confidence to spread best practice throughout their community, so that everyone can share in the benefits that good health can bring.
Read more about how Pump Aid responded to the floods by clicking on the link below.