Sunday, March 24, 2013

World Water Day: challenges and ADRA Malawi response

Compiled by Elias Banda
The World Water Day fell on Friday, March 22 and in Malawi the event marking the commemoration took place in Lilongwe. The event was characterized by songs, dances and speeches, all reflecting on the years’ theme; the International Year of Water Cooperation.
 The water security is challenged by the fact that Malawi is considered a water stressed country with less than 1, 700 m3 of fresh water per person. Only 2% of Malawians have access to piped water and 70% of these households are located in cities, far away from rural areas. Diarrhea , usually caused by water born diseases, accounts for 11% of deaths of children under five, according to the USAID - Malawi water and sanitation profile.
A woman drawing safe water from borehole
 Drawing drinking water from the river
ADRA Malawi is responding to this huge challenge by drilling boreholes to the water challenged communities in Salima District.  In January 2013, ADRA Malawi through the Tsogolo Labwino Project handed over four boreholes worthy K10 million (about $24, 000) to village communities in Traditional Authority Kamwbiri in the district.
Salima District Commissioner Ali Phiri was quoted in the local media thanking ADRA Malawi for the donation and he prayed for continued relationship with the Malawi Government.
ADRA Malawi Country Director Claudio Sandoval told the gathering that providing safe and potable water was one of ADRA Malawi’s priorities.  Tsogolo Labwino is being supported by the Australian Government ADRA Australia and the boreholes would assist 1500 people.
In Lilongwe 21 boreholes were drilled by the African Development Bank (ADB) through Lilongwe District Council  in 21 village communities of Traditional Authority Tsabango after ADRA Malawi collaborated with community based groups (CBGs) in the area to advocate for the provision of safe water. ADRA Malawi, through the Action for Social Change Program (ASC) earlier conducted the needs assessment in the area and discovered that water was one of the immediate needs, as people drunk from open wells and rivers, making them vulnerable to water borne diseases and at the same time, the water sources were shared with animals.
ADRA Malawi built the capacity of the community to advocate for the safe water in the area. ADRA Malawi also facilitated formation of advocacy committees in the area which approached the Lilongwe District Council for the provision of safe water.
After a series of meetings with Lilongwe District officials, it was agreed that each targeted village to contribute K15, 000 (about $36) as a precondition for drilling the boreholes.  ADRA Malawi sensitized communities to make the contributions and in November 2012, boreholes were drilled in 21 villages.
A recent assessment conducted by ADRA Malawi revealed a sharp decline of diarrhea cases and that women spent less time to access water.   The Action for Social Change Program is being supported by Denmark to bring about individual and society change in Lilongwe, Mulanje, Machinga and Mzuzu.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

ADRA Malawi, DAM in diabetes awareness drive in Northern Malawi

By Elias Banda
In the wake of increasing cases of diabetes in Malawi the Diabetes Association of Malawi (DAM) has stepped up efforts to raise awareness and established its branches in district hospitals across the country. Recently the Association collaborated with ADRA Malawi and managed to mobilize 447 diabetes patients in five of the six districts of the Northern Region.
The Association used the ADRA Malawi sponsored Zatonse Radio program to mobilize diabetes patients  in the region  to raise awareness and established  DAM branches attached to district hospitals in Mzimba, Mzuzu, Rumphi, Karonga and Nkhatabay where people would access information on management and prevention of diabetes.
DAM President Timothy Mtambalika expressed gratitude to ADRA Malawi for providing the platform which he described as a powerful mobilization tool. Mr Mtambalika however hinted that the biggest challenge the Association is facing is shortage of drugs and equipment to measure insulin levels.
Currently there over 15000 people with diabetes in Malawi and about 70% have type two diabetes. Mr Mtambalika disclosed in an interview that many Malawians who have diabetes are not aware about the diseases due to lack of information.
 Zatonse Radio Program is support by Denmark through ADRA Malawi Action for Social Change Program to bring about society and individual change.