How Clean Water Is Improving Health: Estery Mtegha Story
Estery Mtegha lives in New Salawe, a village in Nkhata Bay North located on the shores of Lake Malawi. Ester lives with her husband Mr Nindi and their seven children.
They make their living from Lake Malawi as it provides a variety of fish which they sell at the local market, and it’s also home to a water taxi that takes them to other towns in the area to sell the fish. The lake was also the main source of their drinking water but it is often contaminated with bacteria causing diseases such as diarrhoea, bilharzia and even cholera.
Nkhata Bay North lacks the infrastructure to provide communities with access to clean water and so Estery, her family, and thousands of others are forced to drink untreated water from the nearby lake and rivers.
For Estery, the dirty water meant that they often got sick from diarrhoea and stomach worms lowering their immune system and pay to travel to the Khondowe health centre. This was money that Estery wished she could spend on food to keep her growing children healthy and nourished.
The illnesses caused by the contaminated water also resulted in her children not being well enough to go to school and as a member of the school mother’s group committee.
In 2018, Estery saw children becoming sick more regularly so she reached out to Temwa. Temwa was able to provide a water filter to Estery and her family, as well as others throughout the Chiwambala community. The community members paid a contribution towards the cost of the filter in small instalments.
“We no longer get sick from skin diseases and stomach aches because we drink clean and safe water, without dirt and germs. My family is now able to save money which we would have spent on transport to the hospital. The children are very healthy because we spend more money on buying food for the family
Our families are in good health and we can concentrate on other development activities rather than treating water-borne diseases. I want to see the hospital build because it is a long-distance walk from where I reside to the nearby health centre”.
Since the introduction of the water filters, the school mother’s group committee has seen increased school attendance and Estery no longer has to spend time and money walking to the hospital. Temwa’s water filter project
Estery Mtegha is one of 3,900 people in Nkhata Bay North who have been able to access clean water through Temwa’s Water Filter Project since 2017. Beneficiaries of the water filters pay a small contribution towards their water filters and these funds are collected by the committee to be reinvested in community-chosen health initiatives. One village has built three corbelled pit latrines at a primary school and Estery’s community have been investing in the under 5 health clinic.
This simple but effective solution really has changed lives for the better but there are still more people like Estery that need your help. This year Temwa will expand the Water Filter Project to at least two new villages, giving access to clean water to another 1,800 people.
This simple but effective solution really has changed lives for the better but there are still more people like Estery that need your help.