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Project information

Ending water poverty through enterprise and choice

We bring health, choices and prosperity to Malawi by supporting small businesses with a huge social impact. This project puts an end to water poverty, food insecurity and aid-dependence by developing skills and giving ordinary people the chance to invest in sustainable water and irrigation supplies.

January 2019 - December 2019

Charity information: Pump Aid

Pump Aid logo
  • Need


    We are tackling water poverty, food insecurity and aid-dependency in Malawi.

    Malawi is ranked 170/188 countries on the UN’s Human Development Index. More than half its people live in poverty and more than a third are food insecure.

    To support Malawians to become self-sufficient, this project addresses the problems of:

    • Unreliable community water supplies
    • Poor farming yields and insufficient access to irrigation
    • Households lacking convenient access to water
    • Lack of skills and choices


    This project will support 2 entrepreneurs in developing technical, marketing and business skills and the expansion of a network which reaches deep in rural communities.

    Each entrepreneur will transform lives of over 1000 people each year by selling (not giving away) pumps and services to households, communities and farmers while improving their own livelihoods. This approach is sustainable, not a one-off intervention.

    We raise awareness of the economic benefits to encourage people to invest.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Improve reliability of community water pumps


    » Train 2 entrepreneurs in how to diagnose and repair a range of pump technologies
    » Provide service agreements with entrepreneurs so that community pumps are regularly maintained
    » Develop the capacity of water point committees to encourage them to fundraise to meet costs of maintenance and repair

    What success will look like

    The increased proportion of community pumps working in target area

    Aim 2

    Improve access to irrigation


    » Use marketing and roadshows to demonstrate the benefits of simple irrigation pumps in increasing crop production
    » Practical skills training for farmers in effective irrigation and water conservation

    What success will look like

    Number of farmers using irrigation and increasing food production

    Aim 3

    Improve convenient access to water for households


    » Raise awareness of health and economic benefits of reducing distance traveled to fetch water

    What success will look like

    Number of people benefiting from more convenient household water supplies

    Aim 4

    Improve skills and income


    » Training and development of 2 entrepreneurs to support them to establish a small-scale, profitable businesses

    What success will look like

    Improvement in the entrepreneurs' income

  • Impact


    We will improve long-term opportunities by giving people of all needs and means a chance to invest in their own futures without relying on externally driven interventions. Each incremental investment brings health and economic benefits which enable further investments and improvements.

    We will measure water point functionality and access to community pumps, irrigation, crop production and household water supplies as well as the commercial success of the entrepreneur (sales and profitability).


    This is an expansion of a successful pilot project so we are confident in managing risks. The main risks are practical ones as fuel shortages and disrupted material supplies are always an issue in Malawi.

    Pump Aid is experienced in managing such problems by planning projects in advance and ensuring we have sufficient funds and resources before starting a project.
    Rising inflation is also an issue but we generally work in sterling and dollars, and stockpile supplies where necessary.


    We will engage donors in project progress through newsletters, stories and social media.

    On project completion, we will provide a case study and interview with an entrepreneur and some of the customers served.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £20,588

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      Amount Heading Description
      £328 Recruitment and selection proc Recruiting pump manufacturers, servicing mechanics, well diggers and sales agents.
      £2,850 Technical Training Affordable pump manufacturing and installation, pump servicing & repair, well digging well lining
      £4,610 Business Training & Mentoring Understanding customers, business processes, profits, marketing & branding. Ongoing mentoring
      £2,360 Staff Costs Salary proportion of Enterprise Programme Manager, Irrigation & Farming Officer and M+E
      £4,305 Marketing Support Multi-media promotion: radio adverts, local demo models, market roadshows, leaflets, posters etc.
      £495 Demonstration pumps Placed in the entrepreneur’s area to demonstrate the benefits, affordability and ease of use
      £2,250 Supporting small-scale farmers Showing farmers how to best use their investments: training and support
      £3,390 Feedback/monitoring/evaluation Monitoring customer feedback and entrepreneurs' sales and profitability, learning and improving
  • Background


    Malawi is a poor nation in East Africa and has a population of around 18 million. More than 50% live in poverty, 25% live in extreme poverty and over a third are affected by food insecurity.

    The country faces a number of challenges including: inadequate skilled human resource; inadequate financial resources; narrow export base; inadequate diversification; high population growth; over dependence on rain-fed agriculture and unreliable access to water and sanitation services.


    Each entrepreneur will improve earnings while transforming lives for more than 1,000 people within a year, including:
    • community members with reliable access to water from community pumps through repair and servicing;
    • household users with convenient access to improved water, which means less contamination and more time for work and education.
    • farmers benefiting from increased food and income security through affordable irrigation which enables multiple harvests per year, not just one.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    Pump Aid has nearly 20 years’ experience helping people in rural communities to become self-reliant, so they no longer need external support.

    Since 2014 we’ve shown that supporting small businesses and giving ordinary Malawians the chance to invest in their own water and irrigation supplies can have a radical impact.

    In our pilot project, we supported 25 entrepreneurs who brought sustainable access to safe water to nearly 22,000 people. We are expanding this effective work.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.



    The entrepreneur is at the heart of the project and will be selling sustainable water and irrigation supplies to customers in rural communities

    Tiyese Zumu-Mwale

    Our Malawi in-country director responsible for the strategic direction, oversight and management for all the programmes in Malawi.

    Duncan Marsh

    Director of Programmes with nearly 20 years’ experience in the development sector and was key to designing and implementing the pilot project