The Republic of Malawi, also nicknamed “The Warm Heart of Africa“, is among the smallest countries in Africa. The Great Rift Valley traverses the country from north to south. Lake Malawi, the third-largest lake in Africa, comprising about a third of Malawi’s area.
The land forms high plateaus, rising to elevations of 2,130 and 3,002 meters (6,988 and 9,849 ft) at the Zomba Plateau and Mulanje Massif respectively.
Malawi is among the world’s least-developed countries. The economy is heavily based in agriculture, with a largely rural population, although, extreme weather, rapid population growth have made farming difficult.
Malawi has a low life expectancy and high infant mortality. There is a high prevalence of HIV/AIDS.
Although official figures show Malawi to have good water supply coverage, the number of people with reliable access is far lower as many hand pumps are broken, leaving no choice but to go back to unsafe water sources.
The animation below summarizes how Inter Aide progressively extends its intervention from water points construction, sanitation and hygiene programs to maintenance activities.
Phalombe District is located in the Southern Region of the Republic of Malawi, 80 kilometers south of the commercial city of Blantyre and 400 kilometers (5 to 6 hours) from Lilongwe.
Phalombe District has a population of 355,312. Its density is one among the most important of the country – 230 persons per sq.km.
It is divided in 7 TAs (Traditionnal Authorities) – Chiwalo, Jenala*, Kaduya, Mkhumba, Nazombe, Nkhulambe, Phalombe Boma -.
*Jenala is the TA where Inter Aide is currently working in WASH.
Jenala is one of the TAs with fewer access to safe water : less functionnal boreholes and shallow wells than in other TAs and less served by the major gravity fed systems that can be found in Phalombe district thanks to the water that can flows from the Mulanje Mountain.
Although the sanitation coverage is not so bad (almost 60% of households equipped with basic latrines), mots of these structures collapse during rainy season because they are of low standards and because of unstable soil (sandy, esp. in Jenala).
This situation leads to increased prevalence of water and sanitation related diseases which contribute to poor health. The mortality rate for under 5 children in Phalombe is the 2nd more important one of the country – 160‰.
Jenala is divided in 8 VDCs (Village Development Committee headed by Group Village Headmen) which corresponds to almost 65 villages and 20 000 families.