West of Lilongwe, Malawi … Next to the recently constructed distribution center where the Malawi Project ships its medical, educational, and agricultural supplies, a well was built to service the warehouse and the people from nearby rural villages.
So, with that in mind, picture the following…The late afternoon sun will soon cast its long shadows across the warehouse and the well, but this article is specifically a story about safe water. The well, the source of pure water, will soon be hidden in the dark of the long Malawi night, but for now, the late afternoon shadows slowly inch their way east across the red clay of the Malawi landscape. The well will come to life before the sun rises the next day…
The World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF estimate that nearly 660 million people in rural areas lack access to safe drinking water. A primary source of Malawian’s water supply comes from dangerous shallow wells. These shallow wells prevent water from being properly filtered and therefore pose a great health risk through a wide range of diseases. Many villagers resort to using unsafe water because a walk of 30 minutes or more is often required to find access to a deeper, safe well. According to Wilson Tembo, the Executive Director for Action for Progress, (AfP), “Although access to safe water is increasing, there are ‘blind spots’ where limited access is still a challenge. This is partly because of poor access to technical equipment and partly due to limited financial resources. The most affected are in rural areas, where the water crisis is compounded by poverty and the lack of public investment.”
Tembo continues, “The well we built was, at the time, created to supply the water necessary for the construction of the distribution center. It stands beside the main road that passes close to AfP property. Along with its value to Action for Progress it has also been a life-serving unit to the community as well. Recently, as I drove away from the building to go home, I saw a group of children drawing water, and drinking with their hands. I stopped so I could talk to them, and initially, they were a bit scared. After several minutes of reassurance, the boys said they thought I was going to chase them away. We all laughed! It is not just for us, it’s for you, too,” Tembo told them. He sums it up, “This well is just another example of the mind-set of Action for Progress, a mindset of commitment to helping others.”
Since it was constructed, this borehole (well) has been serving people from the surrounding villages. As mentioned earlier, the well will come to life before the sun rises. Women of all ages often begin their walk to this safe, clean water as early as 5:00 am. Action for Progress and the Malawi Project are pleased with their joint efforts to bring assistance to the people in the villages around and near the Action for Progress distribution site.
*The Malawi Project encouraged the creation Action for Progress as a Malawi based non-profit. The importance of AfP cannot be overstated. They are comprised of a board of directors that are all Malawians and come from all three regions of the nation. They work closely with the Malawi Project, a U.S. based non-profit and both organizations are united in the effort to help Malawi become self-sustaining.