Pump Aid started work in April 2021 in the Dowa District, located in central Malawi. Our aim is to build a network of ‘water entrepreneurs’ who provide much needed repair and maintenance services to community water pumps, and offer low cost household and irrigation pumps for self-investment by rural households.
The challenges in Dowa and across Malawi is as follows:
Up to 50% of community pumps are broken or partially functional, and without repair and service will soon become non-functional.
Less than 10% of small scale farmers use irrigation. This severely limits food productivity and contributes to 40%+ food insecurity.
Barely 5% of households have a convenient water supply, meaning women and girls walk long distances to collect water from a community pump.
With funding from the Waterloo Foundation Janet Alexander Memorial Grant, Pump Aid is training entrepreneurs to fix broken water pumps, and set up a regular maintenance service through annual service contracts and to sell low cost pumps to households. By supporting businesses to become profitable and marketing their services and products, we can develop a more sustainable fix to broken pumps and convenient supplies for domestic and irrigation use.
In April 2021, Pump Aid started the process of recruiting and training pump mechanics and well diggers in Dowa District. Working with the District Water Office, we invited applications to the ‘project’ and after a tough process we selected 21 budding entrepreneurs to train, support and mentoring over 2 years.
We trained pump mechanics in repair, maintenance and installation of a range pumps. This means more communities and people can get their pumps fixed, serviced, and installed. A bigger customer base and more revenue for the entrepreneurs.
Initial classroom based business training is supplemented by regular mentoring and marketing support.
These are the results to date...
pump mechanics and well-diggers have undergone initial training.
people have access to water due to the regular servicing of the 152 pumps
community pumps are now being regularly serviced
women and girls have a considerably shorter journey to collect water
broken water pumps have been restored to functionality
household and irrigation pumps sold in Dowa
Area mechanic Maggie Paul was one of the first budding entrepreneurs selected for the training programme in Dowa. At 32 years old, Maggie is raising pump functionality across her district by repairing and maintaining a variety of community water points.
I see hope of a brighter future with the knowledge and expertise I have acquired from this training because we have learnt to take this work of area mechanic as a business.