Just Add Water
A local fisherman from Khondowe, Malawi.
Recently, water has changed his family’s life. From suffering sickness to becoming a community influencer, William is raising awareness in his community about water and hygiene, and inspiring positive change for the future.
He lives with his wife and six children in a grass-thatched house with a clay floor. There are many mouths to feed and they fish to survive. It was common for people in William’s village to become ill as their local water source is unsafe to drink. Often these illnesses are easy to cure, but with clinics too far away and the medicine too expensive, many go untreated. In these situations, preventable illnesses like diarrhoea can tragically become fatal. On top of this, regular sickness stopped William earning a living and supporting his family. His children often had to miss school lessons too.
“Since I am a small-scale fisherman, I am supposed to fish almost every day, but this wasn’t possible because when I got sick, I was unable to go fishing.”Life changed when his community and Temwa came together to launch the Water Filter Project.
The Water Filter Project introduced subsidised water filters to households living in the area for the first time, ensuring clean and safe drinking water. The team trained a committee and the wider community about sanitation and hygiene.
When William first heard about the project, he was really interested in getting involved, knowing it would not only help his family but also his village.
He joined the Water committee being established to support the project, including distributing filters and supporting recipients. William now chairs the committee. They help villagers learn about good hand-washing and using contained toilets to stop illness spreading. He also trains households on how to maintain their filters. “We have access to clean water now, most people have built toilets and they have the knowledge on how to take care of it.
There has been a mind-set change in the community around sanitation and hygiene. We don’t even get sick as often anymore, thanks to this project.”
When asked, William said that access to clean water and attitudes to sanitation and hygiene has made life better, in his own family and beyond. He observed people don’t get sick as often as they did before. His families improved health means his children no longer have to miss out on their education and he can continue fishing. “We are really thankful to you for bringing in the water filters. Our health has really improved.”
Looking to the future, William’s community now have the tools to improve the health of the people of Khondowe. The WASH fund from households’ purchase of the subsidised water filters is going to be reinvested back into the community. The committee are developing plans with the community to improve local health services or build community demonstration latrines.
The Water Filter Project is having domino effect. People just like William are helping their own community to better their quality of life through Water partnerships.
You can be part of expanding the Water Filter Project to more communities.