A Milestone in Malawi

Dec 22, 2020 | Global Projects, Malawi, Water Wells

Agness Mwale used to wake up at 2 am, gather her water containers, and walk down to the dry river bed to collect water for her 7-person household. Because it was a dry river, the process was not as simple as just putting your bucket in the water and watching it fill-up. Instead, community members relied on holes dug in the riverbed sand that would fill up with water the deeper you got, much like digging a hole on the beach. It was important that she’d be on time because there was often a line to collect from pre-dug holes, and if she were late, it would sometimes take hours before the hole would recharge with enough water for her to bring home. If she was lucky and on time, she’d be rewarded with 2 containers full of brown, murky water to drink, cook, and wash.

Not anymore. 

Agness walking to the dried river bed to collect water with one of her sons on her back.

A close-up of the water Agness collected from the river bed that her family would use for drinking, cooking, and washing.

Prior to the new Sonder well, Agness and the other members of her community would collect water from holes in the river bed.

In June, The Sonder Project visited Agness’ community and identified a clear need for a new water source. Our team worked with the community to establish a local water committee to oversee the project, and we brought in a local company to drill. The community had to collect local materials such as sand, gravel, and bricks for the finished product, and in November, the drilling company got to work. One month later, on December 8th, a brand new deep-well water pump was inaugurated. Standing in the crowd was Agness, one of the first women to collect water from the new source. This time she didn’t have to wake up at 2 am, and she was awarded a full bucket of clean and clear water. 

This month, The Sonder Project is celebrating the completion of our first 3 boreholes constructed in the country of Malawi. In addition to the well in Agness’ community of Chimtima, we also inaugurated wells in our partner communities of Chikoya and Chakondwa, collectively increasing access to clean water for 2,645 community members. After opening our Malawi office at the start of 2020, we are proud to have reached our goals for the program’s first year, and we look forward to drilling 5 new wells in Malawi in 2021 (not to mention 5 in Burkina Faso) with your continued support.

Students from the nearby school celebrate the inauguration in the community of Chimtima.

Agness was one of the first community members to collect water from the new Sonder well in her community.

Agness collects her first bucket of water from the new Sonder well.

Students from Chasungwi Primary School in the community of Chikoya celebrate the new Sonder well in their community.

Please consider donating to The Sonder Project’s December Giving Campaign. Since it was released at the beginning of the month, we’ve succeeded in surpassing our initial goal to fund 2 wells, and we hope to be able to fund at least 1 more before the end of the month with your support.


The ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Sonder well. Our Sonder Project Manager, Beria Michembo, at left.

Recent Stories