Clean water is a basic human right

Posted on June 19, 2018

Women in Phalombe District, Malawi, draw clean water from their borehole - Action on Poverty

Clean water is a basic human right, but many remote communities in Malawi rely on hand-dug wells that can carry life-threatening diseases.

Agnes’s story

For Agnes, who lives in Phalombe District, the closest source of clean water was 7km away at a neighbouring village’s borehole. Women spent 4 – 5 hours every day collecting water. This left them with very little time to work and earn an income. Children were often late to school.

Anyone who tried to save time by drinking from the local, unprotected wells was putting their life at risk. In a single year, eight people contracted cholera – including Agnes.

“My mother and I suffered from cholera because of drinking water from the open well,” said Agnes. “Luckily enough, we were taken to the clinic early and survived.”

Water brings a wave of change

We worked with our local partner, United Purpose, to install a borehole. Agnes’s community now has access to a clean, safe and local source of water.

Women have more time for farming and other work, and children are no longer late to school.

Agnes’s village also formed their own water point committee, which is responsible for monitoring water quality, repairing the borehole, and educating people about hygiene.

“Since the well was constructed there has been reduced diarrhoeal disease and no case of cholera,” said Jean, chair of the water point committee.

Clean water can save lives. You can help more people like Agnes by giving a tax-deductible gift to our Africa Water Appeal by 30 June.