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Malawi funding success

November 2014

We're delighted to have been successful in our bid for funding from the Scottish Government's Climate Justice Fund for a new project that will help communities in Malawi to access clean water. Your church could help ensure this project's success.

Women passing irrigation ditch  

Climate justice

Christian Aid is concerned about the effects of climate change, not only on communities here in Scotland but on our brothers and sisters around the globe.

Many millions of the world's poorest and most vulnerable people are bearing the brunt of climate change – yet they did the least to cause it.

Developed countries need to support the world's poorest communities to develop and adapt in a sustainable, low-carbon way.

Scotland's Climate Justice Fund was launched in May 2012 after a strong campaign by members of the Stop Climate Chaos Scotland coalition, which includes Christian Aid. And, after further lobbying by the Enough Food for Everyone IF campaign in 2013, the fund was recently doubled.

Funding success

Millions of people in Malawi do not have access to safe water, and thousands of children die every year from waterborne diseases like diarrhoea and cholera caused by unsafe water and poor sanitation.

According to UNDP Malawi, more than a quarter of Malawians do not have access to safe, potable water. Only half of all health facilities have access to safe water.

As well as increasing susceptibility to disease, lack of adequate and safe water limits agricultural production, and these both in turn contribute to poverty and gender inequality.

Christian Aid Scotland has recently been awarded funding from the Climate Justice Fund for a community resilience project.

It will improve the water supply for households in Nsanje District in the south of Malawi and will also increase their food security through crop diversification aided by solar irrigation systems.

By building climate resilience among the poor households in Nsanje District, the project will contribute towards eradicating extreme poverty and hunger.

And in promoting coordination between the management and utilisation of water, land and related resources, the project will also improve environmental sustainability.

The project

Nsanje District is bordered by Mozambique and the Shire River. It is one of the poorest districts in Malawi with a population of just under 200,000.

Nsanje suffers from the effects of climate change through drought and by flooding from the Shire River. Despite having a river very close by, communities have poor access to water - with boreholes flooding and silting up - and seasonal droughts, both of which affect their crops.

Among the rural poor, gender disparities and inequalities mean women and children bear the brunt of this increased vulnerability.

Contamination and the fact that existing water systems are in a state of disrepair place an additional health risk on women and young children, who are afflicted more by intestinal diseases.

Having access to clean water and good sanitation also plays a role in keeping girls at school and enables mothers to attend maternal child health services.

Communities’ participation in water management is low, and where they have taken the initiative (eg by collecting funds for the repair of boreholes) there has been a lack of support from the government to access the required parts.

Both at the community and district level, understanding of the right to water is lacking, and communities do not recognise their power to hold the government responsible for providing safe water.

Working with three local partners, CARD, CEPA and Bluezone, our project aims to tackle these issues in Nsanje District by:

  • Increasing access to safe water

  • Enhancing water resource management for food security and income generation through small-scale irrigation systems

  • Strengthening communities' participation in water management and empowering them to assert their water rights

  • Increasing advocacy for additional investment in water development and grassroots participation in climate change discussions

Getting involved

Christian Aid needs to raise £20,000 to pay for one of the solar irrigation pumps that will be installed in Nsanje District. We are looking for churches or groups of churches to commit to raising £5,000 over the next 18 months to contribute towards this sum. Could your church make this pledge?

Your contribution would allow us to leverage the funding from the Scottish Government for the remainder of the project. And as part of your partnership with us, we would provide regular updates about how the work is progressing.

The project will run from November 2014 until April 2016 and will provide safe drinking water to 1,500 households in Nsanje District through the installation of two solar irrigation pumps and the establishment of water points in communities.

It will also train and support local community water management committees to take care of these water points, and to lobby for more investment in their district.

With your help and support, we can make a real difference to communities in Nsanje District, and use this experience to inform our wider climate change work in Malawi and beyond.

Find out more

To find out more about this project, and how your church could partner with Christian Aid to ensure its success, contact Mary Mulligan, Churches Development Officer, on 0131 240 1523 or email mmulligan@christian-aid.org.

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