Dowa water Project Background

One of Malawi’s most pressing issues is the low and non-functionality of water points across the country. Only 50% of pumps are fully functioning; meaning that millions of people have to travel up to 6km a day to collect from a working pump, or they resort to using unsafe water. The Dowa water project is an initiative for developing a sustainable network of water provision, training and maintenance infrastructure.

Pump Aid’s initiative works by ‘incentivising’ the pump mechanic to carry out regular servicing to prolong pump life and to undertake repairs when required. We do this by providing technical and business training so that pump mechanics can secure their own livelihood whilst increasing water point functionality in their area. Here’s how it works:

  • Pump Mechanics are trained in technical maintenance and repair across a range of pumps
  • We also train and provide ongoing mentoring in business skills – how to develop profitable small scale businesses
  • We work with community pump committees and local councils to develop annual service contracts, whereby the community pays a small annual fee and the local council ensures that the pump mechanic adheres to a regular servicing contract.

In areas where our pump mechanics are active, pump functionality is over 85%, which is significantly higher than in other areas. At least half of our pump mechanics double their income within a year of joining the programme. Programme funding is used to support the establishment of the businesses, to get to the stage where these entrepreneurs are profitable and no longer require external support.

This approach allows Pump Aid to scale this work as funding becomes available, and means that our role is timebound. Its about start-up support, not perpetuating aid dependency.

Donate today and support our work in establishing a repair and maintenance network in Dowa, in memory of Janet Alexander.

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