The introduction of solar-powered water systems in village communities across Malawi not only helped protect lives during the COVID-19 pandemic but also transformed the quality of life of those using them.
More than 200,000 people now have access to 18 systems we have installed with UNICEF funding. Among them is 46-year-old Lufina, from Chilobwev village in Lilongwe.
“It was hard,” she said, regarding life before the water system. “We used to get water from the community clinic’s borehole, which was salty, muddy, and unpleasant. So in a quest to find clean and safe water we would walk mile-long distances, where so much time would be wasted just for water every day.
“Fortunately, our village never registered a COVID-19 case. By the time our neighboring village had registered a case, we already had a water system with nine taps, and training sessions on good hygiene practices were already in progress. I am therefore certain that early preparations and prevention were key and saved us.”
Before the installation of the water system, the community clinic’s salty borehole presented an additional health hazard for hundreds of patients who presented with chronic illnesses requiring limited salt intake, such as high blood pressure.