Mar 22, 2021 | Water Wells

Celebrating the value of one of our most fundamental human rights: clean water.

March 22, 2021 is World Water Day, an annual event established by the UN in 1993 to raise awareness about the global water crisis.  Perhaps for most people living in the United States, the importance of a day to celebrate water is easily overlooked. Nevertheless, in much of the world, water, and especially clean water, is not so readily available. In honor of this year’s World Water Day, we would like to share a story from the community of Chakondwa in Malawi where we completed a well at the end of 2020, and where the importance of cherishing and celebrating water is clearly demonstrated.      

The dried river in Chakondwa during the dry season. Community members have to collect water from the shallow holes dug in the riverbed.

Malita Ngulube, 26, has spent her whole life in Chakondwa and has never known what it is like to collect water from a clean water source. During the rainy season, she would take advantage of the corrugated iron roofing on her home to collect water.  Otherwise, she, and the rest of the community would rely on an open well or the nearby river for drinking, cleaning, and bathing.  

During the dry season, the situation would get even more difficult as the open well and the river dry up, forcing Malita and the community to dig holes in the riverbed until they reach water. These holes would provide a limited amount of unfiltered water, and Malita would often have to wait until they recharged. Sometimes it could take up to 4 hours to collect a single bucket of unfiltered, river water.   

Collecting water from one of the shallow holes in the riverbed

Malita collects water at the new Sonder Project well.

Of course, today the situation in Chakondwa is vastly different.  For the first time in her life, water is clean and readily available. Malita used to walk an hour just to reach an open water source, while it now takes less than an hour to walk to the Sonder well, collect water, and return home.  Suddenly, she has all this newfound time to complete other household tasks and support her children to go to school.  Furthermore, since the Sonder well was installed, she and her two children have not experienced the constant diarrhea they had become accustomed to from drinking the river water.  A single well, and access to clean water, has made all the difference.   

Malita smiling with appreciation for the new well.

The impact is felt not just by Malita.  We surveyed 59 women responsible for collecting water in the community of Chakondwa representing 297 people through their households.    Prior to the Sonder well, all the women interviewed reported spending at least 2 hours collecting water and 90% reported spending over 3 hours.  However, now that the Sonder well has been installed, 100% of those same women reported spending a total of one hour or less per day collecting water!  This means every single woman we spoke with is spending at least an hour less everyday collecting water!  That is equivalent to gaining 15 additional days per year!   Additionally, 85% of those surveyed said they experienced less illness since the installation of the pump (the remaining 15% reported no change).   Now that is worth celebrating.

Happy World Water Day Malita
and the rest of the Chakondwa community! 

Join us to empower impoverished communities and celebrate World Water Day by sharing the story of Malita and the community of Chakondwa via social media, and/or please donate to support our global programs working to increase access to more communities in need. 

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