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Communities Accessing Clean water after a Seven-Year Water Crisis

Community Based Educators (CBEs) in the area of Munkhokwe, Traditional Authority (T/A) Malengamzoma in Nkhata Bay district facilitated a process that has led to a new chapter in which people are able to access clean portable water after seven years of drinking unsafe water from

open wells that were also far away from them.

Since 2008, communal water points in the area were closed due to an unpaid bill.The community members stated that the treasurer collected the money from all water users to pay a monthly bill to Nkhata Bay Water Board.   However, it was stated that the treasurer suffered a very short illness and died before he had a chance to handover the money to someone else.

It is at this point that some unknown people stole the money from the treasurer’s corpse and that was the end of the Communal Water Point (CWP) in the area. The chronic water crisis reached a climax and people were drinking unclean water from open wells that are located at some distance from the community members.

The situation lasted for a total of seven years until recently (2015) when YONECO conducted a scorecard assessment on the availability of water supply in the area. During the assessment, YONECO involved its trained CBEs who operated as community facilitators in the assessment.  The community members took this opportunity to express how the water problem is affecting their everyday life.  

A CBE who was also one of the people who facilitated the scorecard process picked up the matter and advocated for reconnection of water in the area. During a community interface meeting, the CBE also raised this matter and suggested that the water supplier should write-off this bill so that the community can just start anew.

Thus, after some discussions, the water board officials accepted the proposition to write-off the previous bill in order for the community members to start afresh. The CBE relentlessly kept on following up on the issue until the time the water pipes were reconnected in May, this year (2015).

This achievement kindled other CBEs from the area of T/A Malanda to mobilise community members in order to collectively call for the supply of piped water. By the month of June, 2015, other communities were also enjoying continuous supply of piped water and the number of Communal Water Points(CWP)  has increased in the communities.

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