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Project information

Water is Life: enabling clean water in Malawi

Concern Universal aims to create 480 water points in Malawi over the next four years to bring clean water to 120,000 people. Given the terrain, this is an ambitious programme so we need to update our drilling kit by buying a new compressor, ensuring our water rig can run at maximum efficiency.

The compressor will enable our clean water programme to continue for at least 8 more years.

Charity information: United Purpose

United Purpose logo
  • Need


    One in six people worldwide (that’s 894 million) are without access to enough safe water. In 2010, the UN declared access to clean water and sanitation a basic human right, with the stipulation that the water source should be no further than a kilometre from home and collection time should not exceed 30 minutes. Without clean water, communities are ravaged by deadly sicknesses like cholera or diarrhoea and walking for miles to collect it precludes children from education and women from working.


    We aim to create 480 clean water points in Malawi over the next four years to bring clean water to 120,000 people - and in order to do so we need to update our drilling kit by buying a new compressor, to make sure our water rig can run at maximum efficiency. Concern Universal does not just ‘drop in and drill’; all our water work includes training and educating the community in how to maintain their clean water supply, as well as teaching on good sanitation and health.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Replace old, inefficient compressor to drill 480 safe water points benefitting 120,000 people.


    » Use and maintenance of new compressor. Due to rough terrain careful maintenance is needed to maximise the projected 8 years of useful life.
    » Concern Universal engineers pinpoint the water and then operate the equipment to drill for water.
    » Once the source is accessed, the pipework is put in place and a platform and pump are installed.

    What success will look like

    New compressor brought into use as soon as possible and properly maintained to ensure a minimum of 8 years of useful life.

    Aim 2

    To exceed UN standard and work to Malawi government standard of a water point wtihin 500m of home.


    » Careful site assessments and planning ahead by our water engineering team to consistently meet this standard.

    What success will look like

    The provision of clean water within 500m of each home is built into the forward planning for drilling, sccess will be demonstrated by pumps being in use within 500m of home.

    Aim 3

    Build a network of mechanics, supporting the pump maintenance efforts of local communities.


    » Community work is undertaken to demonstrate pump maintenance and to ensure local suppliers and mechanics are known to the villagers
    » Simple pointers are given to help form a committee to take responsibility for ensuring the water point remains safe and in use.
    » Area mechanics are trained in more advanced maintenance and operate on a commercial basis. Local shop owners are encouraged to stock spare parts.

    What success will look like

    Parts will be seen in shops and villagers will report back on use of local mechanics, pumps will remain in full and active use.

    Aim 4

    To enable communities to understand the importance of clean water and sanitation for their health


    » We educate on the importance of toilets, and work alongside the community to build good ones.
    » We explain the need for washing hands and introduce a simple but effective soap that can be made using locally grown materials such as jatropha.

    What success will look like

    Incidences of disease and sickness will be measured to prove they are dramatically reduced following supply of clean water and sanitation education.

  • Impact


    Concern Universal will provide clean water and enable communities to manage and sustain their water facilities, meaning that deadly water borne diseases can be brought under control and people’s lives can be transformed. Children will not have to spend many hours fetching water and so can go to school, gain an education and, ultimately, a livelihood. Community management will give confidence to local people that they can undertake other needs in their area, using their own resources.


    A patchy supply of construction materials (eg cement) and fuel is a risk so we procure materials in bulk and store them in our warehouses, and we identify alternative supplies.
    The drying up of boreholes is another risk so we ensure major drilling works are completed in the dry season to fully test the water supply and, where possible, we drill down to the deeper aquifers so water points are not affected by drought.


    Updates in newsletters, on our website, personal communications with all who donate via the Big Give, photos, case stories of beneficiaries, video interviews shared via social media.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £40,000

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £40,000 New Compressor Component part of machinery for water drilling
  • Background


    Our project is to benefit the people of Malawi. Between 35-40% of people living in Malawi’s rural areas are without clean water. We choose the most under-served districts in terms of clean water coverage. Our approach is to then reach all the villages and communities in a selected district. Over the years, we have learnt that working in a geographically concentrated area improves impact and leads to greater efficiency. We liaise closely with the government and local traditional authorities.


    120,000 men, women and children will benefit across rural Malawi, one of the very poorest countries in the world, with safe water provided 500m from their home and the skills and resources to ensure the water pump is properly maintained.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    Concern Universal is well known and trusted amongst the people of Malawi, having served there for nearly 40 years, and has to date constructed over 3,000 boreholes, serving over 750,000 people. Over the next four years we intend to drill a further 480. However, Concern Universal does not just ‘drop in and drill’; all our safe water work includes effective community mobilisation and participation, education in sanitisation and health and training in maintaining fully functioning water points.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Masauko Mthunzi

    Masauko Mthunzi is our rural water supply, sanitation and hygiene specialist. Having worked for us for 12 years, he runs our Malawi Water programme.

    Smorden Tomoka

    Smorden Tomoka is our Senior Water Engineer in Malawi. He has 12 years of experience in overseeing and designing major public works programmes.