Pump Aid’s response to COVID-19 in Malawi
Prevention is 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 identified over 500 community water points requiring urgent repair, currently denying reliable safe water 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 many of the pre-schools will be closed, villagers and children will still use 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 CBCCs
- 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
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
Access to water and sanitation, and positive hygiene behaviour, including handwashing, is now needed more than ever.
If you would like to support children and communities in rural Malawi to keep themselves safe, then please donate.