World Vision International in Malawi (WVI) is training people in village banking under Traditional Authority (T/A) Chulu in Kasungu, Malawi. The people being trained are also currently benefiting from a WVI Water and Sanitation Health (WASH) project.

The trainees are members of the various Water Point Committees (WPC), and are being instructed in concepts of Village Savings and Loans (VSL) so that money realised from savings can be used to maintain the boreholes WPC look after. So far, 17 WPC out of 46 have already benefited from the trainings.

According to WVI, the aim of the trainings is to instill the spirit of self-reliance so that whenever the WASH project being carried out comes to an end the beneficiaries will maintain the boreholes without the organisation intervening.

Malawi News Agency (Mana) has learnt that the committees also engage in Income Generating Activities (IGA) and that every household contributes certain funds for the smooth running of the boreholes.

The WASH Development Facilitator at WVI, Alijeao Nyemera Nkhonjera, told Mana that the organisation demands each committee to source K15, 000 from community contributions as a startup capital for the provision of a borehole.

‘The whole idea behind all this is the sustainability of the boreholes being used by the community. As an organisation we are not responsible for maintenance, hence the VSL trainings. We are also training them in pre-drilling and post-drilling, how to do maintenance and cleaning of boreholes’, Nkhonjera explained.

The WASH Development Facilitator said that the committees have their own area mechanics, members of Village Development Committees, who were trained by the organisation to repair the boreholes.

Nkhonjera said, ‘People pay the mechanics through the funds realised from their savings, thereby giving them a total ownership and self-reliance on the project even if our relationship ends. Our hope is on the survival of the boreholes through the formation of village banks which have proven to be helpful for the sustainability of the drilled boreholes which are serviced every three months’.

Chairlady of Mkulumimba WPC, Selina Banda – one of the 17 groups that have benefited from the Village Banking trainings – applauded the organisation for equipping them with special skills which would help sustain the services of the boreholes.

‘We are able to run the borehole with ease even if it knocks down. We repair and also hire the services of mechanics whom we are able to pay from our savings. All this is because of the skills acquired in VSL, and when our money makes interests we are able to share. So far, our bank has K20, 000 and hopes for more savings as time goes by’, Banda said.

The chairlady assured all concerned stakeholders of the group’s total commitment towards making sure that the boreholes are handled with passion as the lives depend on them and there is a need to make sanitation and hygiene prevail in the community.

The Kasungu District WASH Coordinator, Wales Kazonde, commended the resilient and tireless efforts displayed by different partners, like World Vision International, in WASH activities saying their interventions have changed people’s lives in many areas.

‘The communities are singing a new song as evidenced in more projects being carried out by these partners. Safe and clean water is the order of the day, this means reduced cases of waterborne diseases which has made the society look healthier than ever. Moreover, as witnessed through WVI village banking trainings, we are hopeful that even if the project comes to an end, the communities would still maintain the boreholes’.

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ZIMENE MUMAKONDA

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