Water Well Journal

November 2015

Water Well Journal

Issue link: http://read.dmtmag.com/i/592194

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Page 13 of 90

Guest EDITORIAL The authors are from Mzuzu University in Malawai. The University's SMART Centre was awarded a grant from the National Ground Water Research and Educational Founda- tion's Developing Nation Fund in 2014. The fund went toward a conference for the education of area drillers. What follows is more detail. T he national water policy in Malawi states the government vision is "Water and sanitation for all, always." The most recent countrywide demographic and health survey in 2011 indicated 79% of the population had access to an improved drinking water source. Functionality rates of 31% for hand pumps and 49% for gravity-fed systems, how- ever, reduce the effective coverage to 55% in rural areas of Malawi. Business as usual in the water sector in Malawi is based on communities awaiting handouts from government or non- governmental organization (NGO) donors. Using business as a driver for development of the water sector offers an alterna- tive to business as usual and allows households to purchase their own improved drinking water source. Self-supply is a promising concept complementing govern- ment and NGO efforts, focusing on allowing household and community user investment. Self-supply in Malawi promotes a range of demand-driven, low-cost water technologies pro- duced with local materials by local businesses—including improvement of hand-dug wells, manual drilling of boreholes, rope pumps, rainwater harvesting tanks, and more. To reach the national vision, there is a need for both gov- ernment and NGOs to continue raising large amounts of aid funds to continue subsidized water supply. Meanwhile, small communities of 150 people or less where machine-drilled boreholes and imported pumps are too expensive are not being served. Although a 2012 Malawi gov- ernment report recommended manual drilling technology as well as self-supply for water provision, the national water pol- icy does not yet refer to either manual drilling or self-supply in improving water supply. Getting Smart An innovative training center, the SMART Centre, opened on the Mzuzu University campus in northern Malawi in June 2012. (The SMART acronym stands for Sustainable, Market- based, Affordable, Reliable Technology.) It was aided with technical support of the Dutch organization Connect Interna- tional, financial support via Aqua for All, and a partnership with the Church of Central Africa Synod of Livingstonia Development Department. The mission of the SMART Centre is to train local artisans in production, quality control, marketing, and business skills. The Centre follows and combines other works and promotion of professionalizing the manual drilling sector in Africa, to- gether with the success of the rope pump in Tanzania, Ghana, and Nicaragua. The SMART Centre also focuses on training local water entrepreneurs, aimed at improving access to water serving small communal water systems and self-supply products at the household level. Ten entrepreneurs started the first training group in 2012 in manual well drilling and production of rope pumps. The par- BUSINESS AND WATER Promoting self-supply via private sector training in Malawi. By Rochelle Holm, Jim McGill, and Henk Holtslag 10 November 2015 WWJ waterwelljournal.com Washer and rope, rope pump, Malawi (Credit: Matt Herbst) GUEST EDITORIAL continues on page 12

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