Pump Aid’s response to COVID-19 in Malawi
Since the start of COVID-19, there has been a steady increase in the number of reported cases in Malawi, and WHO are predicting a more prolonged, damaging spread of the virus.
The health system is totally inadequate to deal with a significant outbreak, making containment and prevention the only way to give Malawi a fighting chance to beat COVID-19.
Health and hygiene, safe water and handwashing in rural communities are the tools we need.
Pump Aid is doing what needs to be done and quickly. Our teams of experts are repairing broken water pumps and promoting handwashing and hygiene behaviours in especially hard to reach, poor and rural communities.
Functioning water points: providing reliable water, sanitation and hygiene for rural communities
Reliable access to clean, safe water and sanitation is vital for the prevention of the spread of coronavirus.
Mobilising over 40 of our area mechanics, and working with District Councils, we are checking pumps are functioning and that communities have access to reliable water and sanitation. We have already repaired over 300 community water points and have identified a further 500 community water points requiring urgent repair, currently denying reliable safe water access for at least 100,000 people.
As well as water point repairs, we are also ensuring that positive hygiene behaviour is promoted within communities: frequent and proper handwashing with clean water and soap. We are distributing COVID-19 awareness and health promotion materials, working with community stakeholders to ensure messaging is communicated effectively, and are providing handwashing tippy taps and soap.
Promoting water, sanitation and hygiene at pre-schools
Community Based Childcare Centres (pre-schools) are part of the Malawian government’s early years development strategy, providing safe environments in which children under 5 can thrive. Whilst primary and secondary schools are currently closed, many pre-schools remain open and villagers and children will still be using the facilities, so it is vital they are in good condition.
We are supporting the youngest children and members of surrounding communities through:
- Undertaking necessary waterpoint and toilet repairs at 60 CBCCs we have identified as requiring urgent attention
- Checking handwashing facilities are functioning
- Promoting good handwashing and hygiene behaviour, and ensuring soap is available
- Ensuring CBCC management committees, and carers and parents of young children, are fully aware of necessary hygiene behaviours and COVID-19 protocols
Emergency irrigation for small-scale farmers: long-term food security
With over 85% of Malawi's population reliant on small-scale farming, beyond the next 2-4 months, unless interventions are put in place, a significant proportion of Malawi’s population is at risk of facing serious food shortages as a result of COVID-19. It is vital that the crop production of small-scale farmers is increased during the ‘winter season’ (May – November) to ensure that food is available on local markets throughout the crisis.
We are working with District Council Agricultural Officers and farmers' groups to ensure that small-scale farming continues (following safe protocols) over the coming months. We are working to ensure that winter cultivation is maximised, providing short-term irrigation and seed and fertiliser packages, to improve the productive capacity of small-scale farmers and to reduce the risk of food insecurity resulting from COVID-19.
What you can do to support
Thank you to all of our supporters for enabling us to give Malawi a fighting chance against COVID-19.
Access to water and sanitation, and positive hygiene behaviour, including handwashing, is now needed more than ever.
If you would like to invest in future generations, and support children and communities in rural Malawi to keep themselves safe, then please donate.
- £5 could provide soap for 5 pre-schools
- £15 could provide the materials for hand washing/hygiene behaviour community promotions
- £25 could pay for a farmers’ club to receive a whole day’s irrigation training
- £45 could pay for a day of an area mechanic's time and travel
- £60 could pay for the parts to fix a broken rope and washer community water pump
- £120 could pay for the parts to fix a broken borehole community water pump