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The Peter Wallenberg WASH Project

The Peter Wallenberg Wash Project has had the goal of changing living conditions in three areas: better access to clean water, better health and better levels of hygiene. The project has achieved these goals by drilling new boreholes and rehabili- tating existing wells, forming water point committees, and training mechanics who are responsible for the long-term operation of the boreholes. In addition, the project has trained people in hygiene and has got them to dig toilets and acquire hand-washing facilities.

In the 19 villages where the project has been carried out only 70 % of the inhabitants fetched water from a drilled or dug well. According to the government’s recommen- dations, there should be one well per 250 people, but in the villages where the Peter Wallenberg Wash Project was carried out more than 550 people were previously forced to share water from one well. The project has therefore drilled 16 new boreholes and rehabilitated 32 boreholes that were already in the area but had stopped working.

Trained in maintenance

For a borehole to work continuously for many years it must be very clear who has the responsibility for taking care of it. Therefore the project has formed water point committees and given water point mechanics the responsibility of maintaining the boreholes.

When the project started there were far too few latrines. In the villages where the Peter Wallenberg Wash Project was carried out, only 70 % of the inhabitants had access to a pit latrine at the start, and it was not unusual that two to seven families shared each latrine. In order to change the conditions, the project has carried out information campaigns to show how important it is to have one’s own latrine and to wash hands after every visit and before each meal. The aim has been for the communities to be declared Open Defecation Free, i.e. that all families have their own latrine. This has re- sulted in several hundred villagers having latrines and the facilities to wash their hands.

Three projects in cooperation

The Peter Wallenberg Wash Project has been integrated with two other projects that have been financed from Sweden. One is a borehole project that has been financed by Water for All Sweden. Through this project, ADRA Malawi has been able to drill a further six boreholes. The other is a development project for women that has been carried out by ADRA Malawi with funds from ADRA Sweden and the Swedish Mission Council/SIDA.

Thanks to the collaboration between the three projects, a substantial change has been achieved in the villages in question.

Collaboration with several stakeholders

In most of the villages in the region, there are other relief organisations working on increasing the knowledge of the people and strengthening communities. The project has worked closely with these organisations, and also with a number of government ministries, especially with the Department of Water Development and with the Ministry of Health.

In the Peter Wallenberg Wash Project and the Enhanced Livelihood for Gender Empowerment Project, a method of knowledge transfer and needs analysis called REFLECT (Regenerated Freirean Literacy through Empowering Community Techniques) has been used. A REFLECT Circle is formed in each village with the help of a trained villager. The circle’s members are chosen by the whole village. Its task is to extend the villagers’ knowledge horizon and to help them not only to see what needs to be changed in the village, but also to enable them to carry out the changes themselves.

The REFLECT circles act as catalysts, engaging whole villages in change manage- ment and driving the work of building better infrastructure and a stronger commu- nity. The projects have in that respect provided the people with greater opportunities for getting an income and influence over their own lives, together with the power to change them.