Government Minister applauds Beyond Water’s transformative repair and maintenance service

Dowa District, MalawiBeyond Water, a leading social enterprise (a Pump Aid incubator) dedicated to improving access to safe and reliable water to rural communities, was honoured to host the Right Honourable Abida Sidik Mia, the Minister for Water and Sanitation, during her recent visit to Dowa District.

The Minister’s visit came against a backdrop of increasing awareness in Malawi of the challenge of rural water point sustainability, especially handpumps, with non-functionality rates of over 30% in many Districts. Recognising the need for well managed ongoing repair and maintenance for water points, Beyond Water has been developing and scaling up its professionalised service in Dowa District through technical expertise, operational and data management, and innovative financial initiatives.

During her visit, Minister Mia had the opportunity to engage directly with the communities benefiting from the new service. She witnessed first-hand the tangible improvements in waterpoint functionality rates, which have had a cascading effect on the well-being of these communities. The availability of safe and dependable water sources has not only improved health outcomes but also played a crucial role in promoting gender equality and enhancing climate resilience.

The Minister said,Beyond Water’s initiative is an exciting and vital contribution to supporting the Ministry’s efforts toward improving sustainable access to water for rural communities. Improved waterpoint functionality is key to reducing rates of cholera in rural areas.”

The Minister was particularly impressed by the dedication and expertise of the trained Pump Mechanics who are at the forefront of maintaining and repairing waterpoints. These skilled individuals play a pivotal role in ensuring the sustainability of water access for rural communities, contributing significantly to the socio-economic development of Malawi.

Beyond Water Director highlighted, ‘“For many years the issue of repair and maintenance has been overlooked in Malawi, and as a result a large proportion of waterpoints loose functionality after 3 years and communities’ lose access to their source of safe water, undermining all development efforts. With a well managed technically proficient repair and maintenance service handpumps will last for 15+ years. To drive sustainability, we need to address community engagement, technical and operational management and financial viability in terms of user fees and other sources of income to maintain supplies.“

Minister Mia praised Beyond Water’s innovative and community-centric approach, emphasizing its alignment with the government’s vision for enhancing water and sanitation services in rural areas. She expressed her commitment to supporting initiatives like Beyond Water that are making a meaningful difference to the lives of Malawians.

In Dowa District, Beyond Water officially launched its ground-breaking approach earlier this year after several years of rigorous research and successful pilot projects. The approach has yielded impressive results, achieving functionality rates of community waterpoints exceeding 97% for over 200 community waterpoints (50,000 individuals). These accomplishments are not only increasing access to reliable safe water but enhancing improvements in other development areas that rely on safe water as a cornerstone for progress.

Learn more about Pump Aid Beyond Water.

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