Banyan Foundation

Tibet & Malawi

Malawi: a school and a water pump

It may not be immediately obvious, but a borehole and water pump are not essential for the survival of the village. We cannot survive for more than 3 days without water, so if there was none available the inhabitants would have no choice but to move away in search of new sources of water.

The problem arises when there is some surface water available. often this is inconstant and as the dry season progresses, and increasingly these days is prolonged, the available sources of surface water; small perennial streams or springs become scarcer more distant and more contaminated.

Since collecting water is in many cultures the responsibility of the women, women and girls may have to walk for several hours every day to collect water.
Much as 30 liters (=30 kg) of water is carried on the head over uneven terrain without spilling a single drop, and this is probably mainly entrusted to the women, as men cannot be relied upon to carry such a burden safely.

Not only is the water increasingly contaminated, but most has to be used for drinking and cooking, so basic hygiene also suffers as the dry season progresses.

The areas that suffer most are health and education:

As more time is needed to collect water, there is  less time for the girls to attend school, and as the water becomes scarcer and more contaminated health of all the children begins to suffer and they spend more time ill and unable to attend school.

It is generally recognized that education is a good thing, and especially the education of girls, as they are more likely to pass the education on to their own children; at an earlier age.
It requires little imagination to realize that a child who is ill will either  not be able to attend school, or be unable to concentrate on the work.

The little school you can see in the images already has a water collection system for rainwater, but that is insufficient to supply the needs of all the children during the dry season, let alone those of the rest of the village.

It is therefore our intention to drill a borehole and supply a pump near the school building, for both the school and the village.

© Photo’s by Antje Steenhuizen, Auke de Jong, Niels Hennekam en Hans Borgstein