According to WaterAid, a third of Malawians (5.8 million) lack access to safe drinking water. In the communities with access to ­clean, free water from well-maintained boreholes, less money is spent on healthcare and more time can be spent being economically productive.

WaterAid figures also indicate that more than half the entire population (13.8 million) remain without a decent toilet. Apart from the serious health issues associated with unsafe hygiene practices, the lack of single-sex toilet and washing facilities affects women and girls disproportionately, exposing them to a higher risk of sexual harassment and denying them dignity and privacy, especially during menstruation. Some teenage girls drop out of education altogether due to unacceptable sanitation facilities in schools.

Poor toilets and dirty water collected from unprotected sources such as open wells, pits, streams and rivers, are currently claiming the lives of 1,472 children every year. Although significant progress has been made, drastic water shortages and the effects of climate change present new challenges.

Despite only eleven percent of the population having access to mains

electricity, the supply is unreliable and there are regular power cuts. Those with no electricity either retire to bed when the sun goes down or rely on inefficient, costly and potentially dangerous candles or kerosene lamps to light their homes after dark. Both can cause burns and fires if they are

accidentally knocked over, left unattended or placed too close to anything flammable. Working or reading by candlelight leads to eye strain and the health implications of inhaling the toxic fumes from kerosene lamps are known to include persistent coughs, dermatitis, cataracts, and respiratory and eye infections. It is suspected that the fumes may also be carcinogenic.

Access to water, sanitation and electricity

The tedious, time-consuming and laborious task of collecting water and carrying it home.

What you could do to help

A donation of £45 would allow a family to purchase two portable solar lights, one of which can also be used as a torch, and a basic mobile phone.


A donation of £30 would enable a family to establish or expand a small business venture and increase their household earnings.

Malawi is ranked 169 out of 191 countries in the UNDP Human Development Index, based on health, education and income.

The lack of privacy in latrines.

Joyce (left) visiting the tiny, dilapidated, grass-thatched home of a family of six, including a disabled child.

Charitable status

ChildCare Malawi is unable to register with the Charity Commission because our annual income is less than £5,000. However, we are registered as
a Small Charity with HMRC, which entitles us to claim Gift Aid on eligible donations.


Picture credits

All images are copyright of
their owners and must not be used for any reason without prior written authorisation.

Top left and top right

© Maciej Dakowicz.

Centre left © jamesdeanphoto

Bottom left © Eliza Chinomba.

Bottom right © Joyce Maunde.

Bottom © Juliet Ngalaba.



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