The Malawi Water Project is a registered charity in Calgary that aims to provide clean water solutions for developing countries, with a focus on the East African country of Malawi. For our latest focus on Charitable Choices in Calgary, we chatted with the founder of this organization to learn more about what they do.
Describe you charity/non-profit.
The Malawi Water Project is a Canadian Registered Charity operated by Healthy Lives International Society (BN 784193890 RR0001)
What problem does it aim to solve?
The goal of the project is to improve health and alleviate suffering by providing clean, safe drinking water to villagers in rural Malawi Africa. We have local Malawians trained to teach villagers in Malawi about proper sanitation and hygiene and we train them on biosand water filter construction and use. The biosand water filter removes 96% of pathogens and it was invented in Calgary, Alberta.
When did you start/join it? What made you want to get involved?
The project started in 2011 when Helen Timoffee, the founder, realized that without clean, safe drinking water and without adequate education on proper sanitation and hygiene there was not much for villagers in Malawi to look forward to in the future. Children were not able to go to school because of water borne diseases and in some instances were dying at a very early age. Disease caused by contaminated water extended to parents who were not able to work to earn a living and provide for their families.
What was the situation like when it started?
In 2011, the Malawi Water Project started training Malawians on how to teach villagers about proper sanitation and hygiene and how to properly construct the household biosand water filter. The Project started with 3 biosand filter installations and these filters are still working today.
How has it changed since?
Today, we have 30 trained Malawians handling the construction and installation of the biosand water filter and training villagers in group sessions on proper sanitation and hygiene. The project team inspects each filter 4 times after installation to insure it is functioning properly and that filter homeowners are following proper sanitation and hygiene protocol. Because of our donor’s support, our team can track every filter through an electronic data analysis tool called Kobo Toolbox which allows collection of information on each household. Today we have over 1900 biosand filters installed and working. We have provided training on proper sanitation and hygiene to approximately 13,500 villagers. Through the Kobo Toolbox we have GPS locations of each household, household statistical information, filter operating parameters, condition of filter, healthy household parameters and household goals for healthy living.
What more needs to be done? How can our readers help?
We believe that there is so much more that needs to be done to improve the health of adults and children in rural Malawi. We hope to reach all villages that routinely have outbreaks of cholera due to contaminated water and unsanitary conditions. That is why we need ongoing support from existing and new donors. We are transparent and we want our supporters and donors to have confidence that their money is spent wisely on the costs associated with the project. The Malawi Water Project is grateful for the support received from Calgarians. We can assure donors that we have strict accountability practices in place and receive financial reports as well as production reports monthly.
In Canada our charity is run by dedicated volunteers who believe in the project and want it to succeed and reach more villages.
Do you have any events coming up?
Our upcoming fundraising event, including a benefit concert and a silent auction is as follows:
“Music for Malawi Concert”
Date: November 3 rd , 2018
Place: Deer Park United Church
77 Deer Point Rd. SE. Calgary
Time: 6pm to 9pm
Our artists include folksinger Barry Luft, a cappella singing group Conchord and other noteworthy performers. To purchase tickets for this fun and inspiring evening of music, wine, cheese and desserts, visit our website.
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