Since our water program in Malawi began in 2007, we have repaired almost 200 wells and drilled 17 new bore holes, serving more than 30,000 people in our catchment area. Integrated in this program is an effort to provide education on hygiene and sanitation as these elements are integral to creating healthy and productive communities in Malawi.
In the United States, accessing water is as easy as walking a few feet to the faucet in the bathroom or kitchen. For the average Malawian however, the process is drastically different. Thousands of women and children in our catchment area walk up to a mile a day to reach a water point. When they do retrieve water it sits in open buckets on the floor of their house until it is consumed.
While water access in Malawi has improved significantly in recent years, 26 percent of Malawians still don't have regular access to safe and clean drinking water. Many are still forced to drink unsafe surface water.
Orant's water program works to identify, assess and repair every well in the area we serve and drill new wells and install pumps to reach those without potable water nearby. We also plan to provide tools to communities to encourage use of alternative water systems like rainwater harvesting and canal irrigation. All of our water work involves community training to improve sanitation and hygiene around water points and in schools of the villages we work in.
Orant Charities is working to increase access to clean and safe water in the villages surrounding our campus in Kasese. However, access to water is not the only water-related hardship in Malawi. Waterborne diseases such as diarrhea account for 7% of all deaths of children less than 5 years old. Waterborne diseases also lead to student and adult absenteeism, generally resulting in lost productivity in a community. In 2016 our clinic saw more than 1,700 cases of water-borne diarrhoeal diseases.