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U.S. Embassy hands over Shallow Well Water Project

Heather trying out the water pump

Heather trying out the water pump

By Chifundo Limani

The U.S. Embassy through the Ambassador’s Self-Help Fund handed over the Nthumbo Catchment Area Shallow Well Water Project to the people of Kanyama, Mlera, Chikome, Mkuzi, Mjeza and Guzani village in Traditional Authority Chadza at Nathenje area in Lilongwe District on August 16.

The Nthumbo area community secured a $2,900 Self-Help grant equivalent to K733,700 for installation of six shallow wells; the community contributed bricks, sand, stones and labor to dig and construct the wells.

Speaking at the handover ceremony, Consular Officer Heather Watson Ayala congratulated the villagers for assessing their problem and taking steps to address it; and also for not waiting external parties to come and solve the problem for them.

“Your efforts are a wonderful example of a community working together towards a common goal. And in this regard, you now have built sources of clean and safe drinking water” Ayala said.

The new wells are approximately 5 meters deep, lined with bricks and concrete, and communities surrounding the wells have formed water management committees to ensure sustainability of the pumps.

Before installation of the wells, the communities used to draw water from swamps and unprotected springs used by both people and cattle, which posed a health hazard.

Health Surveillance Assistant Mr. Jaforani Windros from Chadza Health Center confirmed that as of 2007 there were increased cases of cholera reported at the center mainly due to lack of safe and clean drinking water.

“We are pleased with the installation of these wells and we are working hard to intensify cleanliness around the wells in order to avoid water borne diseases like cholera,” Windros said.

The Ambassador’s Self-Help Fund strives to address urgent development needs at the local community level and to demonstrate U.S. interest in the welfare and self-help endeavors of local communities throughout the country. The fund supports projects in the areas of water, environment, health, construction, equipment provision, and income-generating activities among others.